Unrecognized Postoperative Infection Leads to Septic Shock, Death; Defendants' Win Affirmed

January 13, 2021 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​In a trial that proceeded against a surgeon and his practice for an unrecognized postoperative infection that led to septic shock and death, the jury found the surgeon not liable. On appeal to the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth Appellate District, the plaintiff argued that the trial court abused its discretion in resolving two procedural issues, by refusing to admit certain interrogatory responses into evidence and by allowing two defense experts with allegedly deficient witness disclosures to testify. The appellate court affirmed denial of the plaintiff's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The appellate court also affirmed summary judgment for the hospital because the procedural issues that the plaintiff argued on appeal were resolved in the defendants' favor and the jury determined that the surgeon was not liable. ​

In August 2013, the patient met with the surgeon for evaluation of an umbilical hernia. Because the patient had high blood pressure, weighed almost 600 pounds, and had a history of pulmonary embolism, he was at higher risk for complications from a laparoscopic procedure. Nonetheless, the surgeon decided that the patient was an appropriate candidate for laparoscopic hernia repair. On October 8, the surgeon repaired the hernia laparoscopically, inserting a mesh. The patient was...

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