Contemporary SurgeryINTERACTIVE JOURNAL
Psychosomatic pain or unnecessary surgery?156
Liable or not? You decide
We give you facts of an actual malpractice case. Visit our web site,contemporarysurgery.com to submit your verdict, see how your colleagues voted, and then view the actual decision.
A 40-year-old woman with abdominal pain had laparoscopic fundoplication for mild spontaneous acid reflux disease unresponsive to PPI therapy.
The patient had received various diagnoses, including bowel problems and gallstones. During a consult for possible cholecystectomy, the surgeon interviewed her about acid reflux and recommended fundoplication.
The patient had multiple complications and hospital admissions.
The fundoplication procedure was not necessary and the surgeon pressured her to have it because he was participating in a trial that compared medical therapy to surgery.
The patient healed well after the operation and had no continuing pain. Her postoperative pain and discomfort were psychosomatic due to family problems and substance abuse.
Case excerpted from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements and Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, Nashville, TN (www.verdictslaska.com).
Submit your verdict at contemporarysurgery.com Verdict also appears on p 191.
ANSWER TO FEBRUARY’S MALPRACTICE MINUTE:
Symptoms of ureteral injury after subtotal colectomy
ONLINE POLL: LIABLE, 54%; NOT LIABLE, 46%
VERDICT: The court found the doctor not liable.