Colonoscopy Malpractice Lawsuit in Montgomery County

Adenaw v. Capital Digestive Care, LLC

Doctor treating Patient This is a colonoscopy malpractice lawsuit filed by a man in Montgomery County. It was filed on April 10, 2017, and it is the 168th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff goes to defendant gastroenterologist with a history of hemorrhoids and bleeding. Defendant suggests a diagnostic colonoscopy. During the procedure, defendant observes areas of spontaneous oozing mucosal bleeding, and photographs them. The standard of care requires these areas to be left alone as they are clinically insignificant and are a minor result of the procedure. Defendant uses argon plasma coagulation (APC) to stop the bleeding. Argon plasma coagulation is a mode of non-contact electrocoagulation in which current is applied to tissues by means of argon gas (argon plasma). In open surgery, APC is used for the haemostasis of superficial haemorrhages from organs and for the devitalization of various tissues.

After the procedure, the plaintiff goes home. That evening he develops worsening abdominal pain and nausea. The following morning, he is transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview with severe abdominal rigidity, severe pain, and difficulty moving. Immediate surgical exploration is done during which a significant amount of fluid is found due to a perforation (presumably from the APC). To fix this, the man's appendix had to be removed and he remained hospitalized for ten days. The recovery from surgery requires an ileostomy pouch in his abdominal wall for digested food and an abdominal reconstruction surgery.

The man files this claim alleging that the areas discovered on the colonoscopy should have been left alone. Additionally, due to the coagulation procedure, his cecal wall was perforated and weakened.

Additional Comments
  • The injury the plaintiff suffered from the allegedly necessitated his second procedure is fecal peritonitis. We see this a lot in medical malpractice cases using from perforations during surgery. Perforations of the gallbladder, small bowel, and stomach can give peritonitis. A ruptured appendix or diverticulitis can also cause peritonitis. If you are a medical malpractice lawyer, you are getting a lot of calls involving perforations during surgery. Is it negligent for a doctor to inadvertently perforate an organ or vessel during surgery? The answer is that it depends on the surgery and the circumstances.
  • The first question about this case is whether the economics just a malpractice cases. The case will be heard in Montgomery County, a relatively conservative jurisdiction in a case where a tough injury seems to have resolved. That fact that the question of whether there is sufficient damage to economically justify a medical malpractice case underscores how few frivolous malpractice cases there are in Maryland. In fact, the bigger problem is that there are too many serious injury cases where there is no remedy because the expense does not warrant filing the case. If these injuries were from a truck accident, it would be a great case. When the same injuries are caused by medical malpractice, there is a real question whether the victim will be able to find a lawyer. (All of this presumes the injuries have fully resolved.)
Jurisdiction
  • Montgomery County
Defendants
  • A gastroenterologist at Capital Digestive Care
  • Capital Digestive Care, LLC
Hospitals Where Patient Was Treated
  • Johns Hopkins Bayview
Negligence
  • Breach of the standard of care
  • Failure to recognize multiple areas of spontaneous mucosal bleeding were clinically insignificant
  • Treating the superficial breaks in mucosa with Argon Plasma Coagulation when proper care would have been to leave the areas alone
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Douglas K. Rex, M.D. - board certified in Internal Medicine with subspecialty certification in Gastroenterology; associated with Indiana University
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