March 13, 2014

Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner/Operations
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023



Medical Malpractice: Perforated Colon Not Caused by Colonoscopy

Robert Cousins

Scott Sankey

FORT MYERS, Florida ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. trial attorneys Robert J. Cousins, managing partner of the Fort Myers office and Scott C. Sankey, a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office, received a second defense verdict within days of concluding another medical malpractice trial held in the same venue and before the same judge. The March 7th defense verdict was obtained in the representation of a Board Certified family physician.  In this second trial, the defense took to the courtroom again to successfully represent another physician on allegations of negligence in performing a colonoscopy.  The plaintiff, a 58-year-old female, was an employee of Manor Care Nursing Facility when she first came in contact with the defendant, our client, a Board Certified internal medicine specialist.
In speaking with other employees at the facility, the plaintiff learned the doctor had a good reputation.  She made contact with him to become her primary care physician.  At the first office visit in October 2008, the doctor evaluated her and among other things, recommended she undergo a colonoscopy, particularly because she had a prior medical history of tongue cancer.  The doctor explained that while his specialty was internal medicine, he had extensive training in colonoscopy during his D.O. residency and was qualified to perform the colonoscopy himself.
On March 13, 2009 the doctor performed the colonoscopy. The only findings of significance included diverticula, internal hemorrhoids, and a “tortuous” Colon.  In the recovery room the plaintiff complained of cramps and pain not relieved when she passed flatus. Despite the continuing complaint she was discharged home.
The next evening, she developed increasing pain and was taken by ambulance to the emergency department. She was admitted to the hospital by the defendant. She later developed significant signs of infection and a surgeon was called in. At surgery, it was discovered that she had a perforated colon due to a segment which was fixed in place with adhesions from prior surgeries. She underwent a bowel resection and diverting colostomy which she had for eight months before reversal.
The plaintiff claimed that as a result of an improperly performed colonoscopy, by an unqualified physician, the plaintiff suffered the perforation.  The plaintiff argued that while a perforation can be an expected complication of colonoscopy, the defendant failed to properly assess the prior surgical history which included a hysterectomy, which increased the risk for perforation.
At trial, the defense argued that the adhesions, which were found during surgery, could not have been detected by the defendant; and therefore, if the perforation occurred during the procedure, it was still a recognized risk.  The defense further argued that because the plaintiff did not develop symptoms until 36 hours after the procedure, the perforation evolved and was not present at the time of the actual colonoscopy.
After deliberating for less than an hour, the jury returned a defense verdict.

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