$2.5 Million Settlement for Sepsis Resulting from Surgical Error
B. v. Northwestern Memorial
We represented a 28-year-old woman who was advised by her colorectal surgeon to undergo total removal of her colon to relieve chronic constipation issues. Upon completing the removal, the surgeon had the option of performing an anastomosis (restoring the bowel by stitching together the cut ends) or creating a colostomy. He chose the former option, despite the danger that breakdown of the stitches and resulting leakage could result in contamination of the peritoneal cavity, peritonitis, sepsis and even death. Nearly a week after the surgery, our client was discharged despite symptoms of mental confusion and anxiety, tachycardia, dizziness and dehydration. She returned to the emergency room the next morning and underwent an exploratory laparotomy, which an found an anastomotic leak. After the leak was repaired, our client required an ileostomy and developed sepsis and an abscess that required drainage. Our case demonstrating negligence and breach of the duty of care resulted in a $2.5 million settlement with the hospital where the surgery was performed and with its faculty foundation.