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Surgical mishap resulted in permanent injuries, per patient
DeKalb County, State Court
leg; neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, femoral nerve); neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, sciatic nerve)
Medical Malpractice – Surgeon, Gallbladder, Surgical Error
Jamil Jenkins v. Rodrick Stevenson, M.D. and DeKalb Medical Center Hillandale,
June 23, 2014
Jamil Jenkins (Male, 30 Years)
Leigh R. Bodner;
Jordan & Bodner;
Jamil Jenkins ■ Richard C. Mitchell;
Mitchell & Shapiro;
Rodrick Stevenson, M.D.,
DeKalb Medical Center Hillandale
Timothy H. Bendin;
Bendin, Sumrall & Ladner, LLC;
Rodrick Stevenson, M.D., DeKalb Medical Center Hillandale ■ Kristin L. Hiscutt;
Bendin, Sumrall & Ladner, LLC;
Rodrick Stevenson, M.D., DeKalb Medical Center Hillandale
GA called by
Timothy H. Bendin, Kristin L. Hiscutt ■ Eric Beck;
AL called by
Timothy H. Bendin, Kristin L. Hiscutt ■ Peter Grays;
TX called by
Timothy H. Bendin, Kristin L. Hiscutt
MAG Mutual for DeKalb Medical Center
In Sept. 2010, plaintiff Jamil Jenkins, 30, an aviation maintenance student, presented to the emergency room at DeKalb Medical Center (Hillandale) with complaints of abdominal pain. He was diagnosed with gallstones. Laparoscopic surgery was scheduled for that afternoon to remove his gallbladder. Surgeon Rodrick Stevenson, M.D. severed Jenkins’ right common iliac artery and right iliac vein during the surgery. Stevenson discovered the injury in the right common iliac artery and performed a repair, but there was no pulse in the patient’s leg. Stevenson called for vascular surgical assistance, but those surgeons were located at another facility an hour away. It was six to eight hours later by the time they arrived and were able to perform the repair of both the iliac artery and vein. As a result of the injury, Jenkins suffered an ischemic injury to the sciatic and femoral nerves in his right leg, with permanent residuals. Jenkins filed suit against Stevenson and DeKalb Medical Center for medical malpractice. Jenkins alleged that Stevenson violated the standard of care in performing the surgery and that DeKalb Medical Center was vicariously liable for Stevenson’s negligence. Jenkins alleged that Stevenson went in through an incision site from an appendectomy performed in March 2010, and opened using a "blind entry with bladed trocar" technique. In doing so, Jenkins claimed Stevenson pushed the shielded blade through the navel, seeking tension from the 1/8" fascia. Jenkins argued that the tension was never seen, felt or heard, and that Stevenson continued to press on. When the trocar "clicked," Jenkins asserted that Stevenson pulled out the obturator, at which time there was a column of blood. According to Jenkins, Stevenson had severed the iliac artery and iliac vein located against the pelvis, beyond the area of concern. Jenkins claimed Stevenson should have stopped and retracted the blade when he felt no resistance. Jenkins, through his experts, alleged that Stevenson went too far with the bladed trocar, which he knew or should have known, and that he should have pulled out the blade when he hit resistance. However, Jenkins argued that Stevenson instead pushed again and cut the artery and vein. Defendants contended that the injury was a known complication and risk of the surgery, of which Jenkins had been informed. Stevenson argued that he performed the surgery the same way as he had done 3,000 times before and that an injury had never previously occurred with his technique. Defense experts opined that there may have been a defect in the fascia from the prior appendectomy, such as adhesions stuck to the artery and vein, and that the adhesions were pulled forward with the fascia. One expert testified that it was uncertain as to why the injury occurred and opined that the trocar might have malfunctioned, but Stevenson denied there was a malfunction.
Jenkins suffered lacerations of the common right iliac artery and vein during gallbladder surgery. Due to loss of blood flow for six to eight hours during the surgery, the patient suffered an ischemic injury to the sciatic and femoral nerves in his right leg. As a result, he claimed permanent neuropathic pain and weakness in his right leg and required the use of a cane to ambulate. He was no longer able to pursue his aviation maintenance career, and was awaiting a spinal cord stimulator implant to reduce the pain. Plaintiff asked the jury for $3 million. Defendants did not dispute plaintiff’s injury, but denied the injury was the result of any negligence on their part. Defendants also argued that Jenkins was able to work and was not permanently disabled.
The jury returned a verdict of $1.5 million.
Alvin T. Wong
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel and an article published by the Fulton County Daily Report. Defense counsel did not respond to a request for comment.