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Surgical needle left in patient allegedly led to bowel puncture

Amount:

$13,292.30

Type:

Verdict-Mixed

State:

Pennsylvania

Venue:

Cumberland County

Court:

Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

other-foreign object in body; abdomen; gastrointestinal/digestive-diarrhea; gastrointestinal/digestive-gastrointestinal complications (nausea); gastrointestinal/digestive-bowel/colon/intestine, perforation

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice - Nurse, OB-GYN, Surgeon, Hospital, Foreign Object, Surgical Error, Failure to Detect, Gynecological Surgery

Case Name:

Lois L. Clark v. Jose M. Manjon, M.D., Holy Spirit Hospital of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Manjon Gynecology PC, Pinnacle Health System, and Pinnacle Health System Women's Continence Center, No. 2015-05848

Date:

March 31, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Lois L. Clark (Female, 73 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Richard C. Angino; Angino Law Firm; Harrisburg, PA, for Lois L. Clark

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Leonard Zamore; M.D.; OB-GYN; Cheshire, CT called by: Richard C. Angino

Defendant(s):

Jose M. Manjon, M.D., 

Manjon Gynecology PC, 

Pinnacle Health System, 

Pinnacle Health System Women's Continence Center, 

Holy Spirit Hospital of the Sisters of Christian Charity

Defense Attorney(s):

Wiley P. Parker; Henry & Beaver LLP Attorneys; Lebanon, PA, for Jose M. Manjon, M.D., Manjon Gynecology PC ■ None reported; ; for Pinnacle Health System, Pinnacle Health System Women's Continence Center ■ Donald B. Zaycosky; Geisinger System Services; Danville, PA, for Holy Spirit Hospital of the Sisters of Christian Charity

Defendant Expert(s):

Joseph Burke; Radiology; Reading, PA called by: Wiley P. Parker ■ Walter Koltun; Colon & Rectal Surgery; Hershey, PA called by: Wiley P. Parker

Facts:

In August 2012, plaintiff Lois Clark, 73, underwent vaginal-prolapse surgery by obstetrician-gynecologist Jose Manjon at Holy Spirit Hospital of the Sisters of Christian Charity, in Camp Hill. During the procedure, a surgical needle was mistakenly left inside her body. Clark claimed that, during the ensuing years, the needle caused generalized bowel complaints (e.g., abdominal pain, gas), which progressed, by late 2014, into diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, nausea, difficulty eating, and weight loss. In early January 2015, an imaging study identified the needle from the vaginal-prolapse surgery, and she was diagnosed with a bowel perforation and diverticulitis, a condition in which pouches along the colon wall become inflamed. (She had been diagnosed with diverticulosis in 2000 and 2012). The needle was removed shortly afterward. Clark sued Manjon, his practice at the time (Manjon Gynecology PC), and Holy Spirit Hospital, alleging that they were negligent in performing the surgery by leaving a needle inside her (Clark also sued Manjon's current employer, Pinnacle Health System, which was voluntarily dismissed, prior to trial). Prior to trial, Clark and Holy Spirit Hospital entered a confidential settlement; however, due to Manjon's claims against the hospital, the hospital remained on the verdict slip and present at trial. Clark's expert in surgery faulted Manjon for leaving the needle from the surgery inside her, and faulted the surgical nurses for failing to provide a proper count of the needles they provided to Manjon. The expert determined that the needle was free-floating and could have caused the bowel perforation at any time. Manjon's expert in colorectal surgery maintained that surgical metallic objects are left in the body all the time without causing problems to patients. In this instance, the needle was nestled in the cul-de-sac in her lower pelvis, below a considerable amount of tissue, which resulted in no damage, and did not cause Clark's bowel perforation, according to the expert. The expert concluded that Manjon was not negligent in leaving the needle inside Clark, and faulted the nurses for their improper needle count. Manjon's expert in radiology confirmed that the needle inside Clark was stable, and had not moved more than a millimeter during the various studies. The hospital maintained that any liability determined should be found against Manjon, and not against the hospital, since he was the surgeon responsible for the procedure.

Injury:

Following the diagnosis of bowel perforation and diverticulitis, Clark was treated with antibiotics, and the bowel perforation eventually repaired itself. She sought to recover $3,292.30 in medical costs. Clark continues to take medication to alleviate her bowel cramping issues. She recounted her weight loss, abdominal pain, and diarrhea leading up to the discovery of the surgical needle, and how she continues to experience discomfort as a result of regular cramping. She sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.

Result:

The jury found the hospital 100 percent liable. No liability was found against Manjon. Clark was determined to receive $13,292.30.

Lois L. Clark: $3,292 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $10,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering

Trial Information:

Judge:

Albert H. Masland

Demand:

$375,000

Offer:

none reported

Trial Length:

5  days

Trial Deliberations:

6  hours

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel. Pinnacle Health System was not asked to contribute.