If a laparoscopic surgery mistake caused a severe and debilitating infection or injury, such as organ damage, contact the Cleveland surgical injury attorneys at The Mellino Law Firm. You may also download or request our free, easy-to-read guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio. With more than 30 years of legal experience, our team is prepared to be the aggressive and compassionate advocate you need.
WHAT IS LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY?
As WebMD states, a laparoscopic surgeon inserts “a thin, lighted tube (a laparoscope)… through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs [in order to] find problems such as cysts, adhesions, fibroids, and infection.”
To perform the 30- to 45-minute surgery, gas is injected into the abdomen in order to inflate the area and move the abdominal wall away from the organs. This allows the surgeon to view the gallbladder, colon, and other organs more clearly once he or she inserts the laparoscope through the incision.
The surgeon may make additional incisions in order to:
- Perform a tubal ligation
- Remove a cyst or scar tissue when treating endometriosis
- Remove organs, such as the appendix, ovaries, or spleen
- Remove a tumor
- Repair a hernia
COMMON LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY COMPLICATIONS
Pelvic infection, severe bleeding, and organ damage are rare complications, according to WebMD, but how rare is rare?
“Despite rapidly improving technical equipment and surgical skill, complication rates and preventable injuries demonstrate a continuous pattern,” the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons says in its blog. “The actual incidence of complications possibly exceeds reported rates. Because levels of operative laparoscopy, study populations, and definitions of complications vary in different series, it is difficult to determine the exact incidence of complications. Also, there may be bias in reporting, especially of minor complications.”
As the Safe Patient Project and the media reported in 2012, hospitals only report 14 percent of the mistakes they make. So it’s really anybody’s guess as to how often laparoscopic complications occur. That being said, “The majority of complications occur during entry of instruments into the abdomen,” per the earlier mentioned blog. If the bowel is injured, there’s a 50-50 chance that it was perforated at the insertion point or during the surgery itself.
Regardless of when the injury occurs, if it goes unnoticed, the patient could die. And, according to the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, “Most bowel injuries are not diagnosed during surgery.” In fact, out of 363 bowel perforations, less than 50 percent were discovered on the operating table. “Therefore, this complication is reported to be the most common cause of laparoscopy-related mortality.”
Similarly, surgeons only noticed ureteral injuries 9 percent of the time. 70 percent became evident once the patient suffered symptoms such as pelvic pain, abdominal distension, fever, and nausea. “Injuries may include transection, ligation, avulsion, crush injury, devascularization, resection, fulguration, and perforation,” the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons states. 20 percent occurred during a hysterectomy, 13 percent occurred during an endometriosis procedure, 11 percent occurred during oophorectomy, 10 percent occurred during a pelvic lymphadenectomy, and 7 percent occurred during sterilization, such as tubal ligation.
In a review of urinary tract injuries, 64.7 percent occurred during a hysterectomy, 18 percent occurred during an endometriosis procedure, and 12.3 percent occurred during a diagnostic exam or tubal ligation.
WHY TRUST CHRIS MELLINO WITH YOUR LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY LAWSUIT?
First, The Mellino Law Firm does not advertise. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases. Others find us online.
Second, Chris Mellino is respected throughout northeast Ohio for his ability to dig below the surface and make sure no fact is overlooked. In fact, he’s been involved in several landmark cases, including Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1994) and Watkins v. Cleveland Clinic Foundation (1998). In the latter, he and his previous partner were awarded the largest verdict in the state that year.
Third, medical malpractice claims are time-consuming and labor-intensive, so we’re selective about the cases we accept. Some firms take every case that walks in the door, settle those cases for the first amount the defendant offers in order to fund their next commercial, and leave their clients in the hands of “case managers.”
We only pursue compensation for patients who’ve suffered a severe injury or disability. By limiting the number of cases we accept, we’re able to give each claim the attention it deserves.
Last but not least, since 2010, The Mellino Law Firm is the only medical malpractice law firm in Cleveland to be accepted into Primerus, which screens potential members by speaking to judges, other lawyers, bar associations, clients, and insurance carriers about a firm’s integrity, work product, fee structure, education, civility, and community service.
If you have questions about a laparoscopic surgery mistake or whether you still have time to file a claim in Ohio, attorney Chris Mellino invites you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.