Suffolk County Jury Awards $8M to Victim of Malpractice For Post-Op Infection Following Gastrectomy to Treat Morbid Obesity
On September 25, 2018, a unanimous Suffolk County jury rendered a verdict of $8,000,000 against a bariatric surgeon and a family doctor. The plaintiff was an adult male with morbid obesity that was treated with a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy to reduce the size of his stomach. There were significant post operative complications involving a gastric leak, resulting in abscess and peritonitis. The bariatric surgeon was found to have failed to recognize misplaced surgical staples and gastric leakage. The family doctor was found to have failed to perform a proper post-op physical exam and delayed in recognizing the signs of a post-op infection which deprived the plaintiff of an earlier diagnosis. The jury rejected the physician's defense that the plaintiff failed to follow post-op dietary restrictions.
The jury found the bariatric surgeon 90% at fault and the family doctor 10% to blame. The award of $8,000,000 was intended to compensate the plaintiff for 14 months of pain and suffering. Vandewater v Buchin, 2018 WL 5404945