Perforated bowel after surgery led to Cambodian woman’s death
Keches Law Group Partner Jeff Catalano recovered $1.45 million for the family of a 73-year old woman who died of sepsis after suffering an undiagnosed perforated bowel during a surgical procedure.
Family members said she was their matriarch and had escaped political violence in Cambodia in the late 1970s prior to emigrating to America, making it all-the-more tragic that she ended up dying after a slew of completely preventable medical errors.
Our clients said the victim had been a source of strength they all relied on ever since she led several family members out of Cambodia and into Thailand during the devastating and torturous Khmer Rouge Regime, the armed branch of the communist party whose reign of terror from 1975-1979 led to the deaths of over a million people in Cambodia before being overthrown by Vietnamese troops.
“It is tragic that someone who had the strength and courage to survive the Khmer Rouge should die in severe pain in a hospital bed in America. Her family has been emotionally devastated since her untimely death,” Catalano said. “I’m glad we were able to offer some solace that justice was done for the devastating mistakes made.”
The healthy 73-year-old woman underwent what should have been a routine outpatient gallbladder removal surgery. But shortly after being released from the hospital, she returned in extreme pain. After being re-admitted, she continued to suffer severe pain. Her deteriorating vital signs and abnormal bloodwork were indicative of a severe infection and triggered a “sepsis alert.”
The surgeon who performed the gall bladder removal and a nurse were both named as defendants in the case due to their failure to provide appropriate care that may have saved their patient’s life.
Despite concerning signs and obvious symptoms of sepsis, the surgeon failed to recognize and repair her perforated bowl immediately. Meanwhile, the nurse failed to administer IV antibiotics or fluids until hours after they were ordered. These lapses in care led to their patient going into septic shock, the final and often fatal stage of sepsis that causes dangerously low blood pressure and organ failure.
She eventually underwent exploratory surgery, which revealed a bowel perforation. Despite the repair of the bowel, the sepsis could not be reversed and the woman died.