Surgery: Resident Surgeon and Hospital Found Liable for Trocar Injury; $12M Jury Verdict

April 1, 2015 | Health System Risk Management


​A jury in Connecticut found a third-year surgical resident and the hospital where he assisted in performing a laparoscopic hernia repair liable for a patient's injuries sustained when the resident improperly inserted an optical trocar. The patient suffered a bowel perforation that went undetected for two days. She experienced septic shock and multiorgan failure and underwent additional surgeries as a consequence of the perforation. The patient was comatose for nearly one month and required hospitalization for 69 days. She required extensive therapy to regain skills to eat, speak, and walk.

The resident had been assigned to the surgery 30 minutes before it began. The attending surgeon testified at trial that he asked the resident whether he had experience using the optical trocar. The resident testified that before the surgeon handed him the optical port, he had assured the attending surgeon that he previously used an optical trocar to insert an optical port. However, when extensively cross-examined at trial, the resident testified that what he meant was that "he had seen it the optical trocar used" or that he was "familiar" with...

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