08 August 2018

Compensation and redress for laparoscopic bowel injury

On 2 August 2018, the Regional Court in Warsaw (I Civil Division) made a ruling in favour of the BFP law firms’ Client, under which she was awarded compensation and redress for a bowel injury sustained during a laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cyst removal.
The surgery was performed in 2011 during the course of which iatrogenic damage to the ileum wall occurred, unnoticed by the operating team at the time of the procedure (the surgery protocol did not indicate any significant deviations from a typical course of surgeries of this kind). Unfortunately, on the very first day after the surgery and only a few hours after our Client was discharged, she had to go to the hospital’s A&E department due to an overwhelming abdominal pain. There, it was established that an emergency re-operation must be performed on the Patient as peritonitis was suspected. This was confirmed post-surgery and moreover, also sepsis was diagnosed. The Patient was transported to the Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit with her abdominal integuments left open. She regained consciousness only after 3 days from the re-operation, however she still needed to be treated intensively. The implemented proceedings have brought gradual improvement and after two weeks our Client was discharged. To this day she still suffers from periodically recurring abdominal pains.

The appointed experts had no doubts as to the fact that the Patient’s bowel was injured during the laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cyst removal. Although the experts pointed out that this injury should not have occurred, they ultimately considered it an acceptable complication of the surgery in light of difficult conditions in the surgery (many adhesions due to the fact that the Patient has undergone surgical procedures in that area). However, an expert in the field of gynecology and obstetrics has explicitly negatively referred to the fact that the injury had not been identified during the laparoscopic surgery. If it had been identified, the Patient would have avoided practically all consequences resulting from that injury. The expert explained that the operating team’s task in such cases is to exercise vigilance and acknowledge that a bowel injury – although accidental and non-culpable – occurred; a task which has been completely overlooked by the personnel in this case.

Having established this, the Court awarded the Claimant (the Patient) redress in the total amount of 80.000,00 PLN including 5.000,00 PLN for the violation of her patient rights – the the right to medical services that meet the medical knowledge requirements and the right to information on the health condition. The Court has also awarded compensation for the costs incurred by the Claimant. The judgement is not yet in force. The Patient was represented by Atty. Michał Krzanowski and Atty. Jolanta Budzowska.

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