ClickCease Medical Negligence | Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger

Medical Negligence

In Heirs v. Bariatric Surgeon (court and case number confidential), Melinda Derish negotiated a $2 million policy limit settlement on behalf of the family members of a 54-year-old corporate executive who died after being prematurely discharged after weight reduction surgery. The surgery was performed in the morning and the patient was stable during the afternoon but in the early evening hours his recovery room nurses noted he had low oxygen levels that required a steadily increasing oxygen supply. The nurses notified the defendant bariatric surgeon, who did not come to see the patient until he was awake and his oxygen levels had normalized. The surgeon discharged the patient, giving him a prescription for oral narcotics. The patient slept heavily that night and the next morning his wife could not awaken him. Paramedics were summoned but the patient experience a cardiac arrest, which caused brain death. Melinda argued that the patient’s low oxygen levels when he was monitored in the hospital were caused by obstructive sleep apnea, a common condition in overweight patients. Death was preventable had the surgeon kept the patient in the hospital for monitoring and treatment with oxygen and a CPAP machine until his breathing patterns were back to baseline. The narcotic pain medication exacerbated the condition and in combination with postoperative pain caused progressive de-oxygenation and arrest.