$800,000 Settlement for Botched Cholecystectomy

An elderly but otherwise healthy patient underwent an attempted laparoscopic cholycystectomy at a Monmouth County hospital due to concerns about an inflamed gallbladder. The procedure was converted to an open cholycystectomy intra-operatively as the gall bladder appeared hard and contracted. During the open procedure the surgeon, with a scalpel or scissor, began cutting away the hardened gall bladder and in the process injured one of the patient’s major arteries and ducts. Given the severity of the injury, the man had to be emergently transferred to John Hopkins Medical Center for a biliary reconstruction performed by a world renowned specialist. It was argued that the defendant surgeon, who had been the subject of numerous prior lawsuits, including some involving cholycystectomies, should not have had his surgical privileges renewed by the hospital out of concern for patient safety. Additionally, it was asserted that an alternate method to remove the hardened and contracted gall bladder, known as the Thorek procedure, should have been employed, which did not require the use of a scalpel or scissor. The man continued to suffer from complications of the surgery and Blume Donnelly partner, Michael Zerres, was able to secure a $800,000 settlement for the patient, with both the surgeon and hospital contributing to the recovery.