Case Study #5


A Defense Victory in Complex Bariatric Surgery Case

Client:  An attending bariatric surgeon.

Type of Case:  Alleged failure to diagnose anastomotic leak after bariatric surgery.  

Background:  The plaintiff underwent a “Roux-en-Y” gastric bypass procedure and developed an abscess and sepsis postoperatively. 

Suit Filed:  The plaintiff venued the case in New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County, which is considered a strong venue for plaintiffs.

Client’s Concern:  The plaintiff had an extremely rocky course after the surgery, and her survival was in question at several points.  She did survive, but was hospitalized for a lengthy period and then required a long rehabilitation and had ongoing complications.  Should liability have been found, the potential exposure was significant. 

Action Strategy:  Aaronson Rappaport carefully orchestrated the defense with medical experts in several specialties to address the plaintiff’s various medical complications.  We showed the leak was a “risk of the procedure,” that it was promptly recognized after the surgery and that our surgeon immediately took steps to control it.  When the plaintiff began to deteriorate, the leak was immediately suspected to be the cause of the deterioration, and she was taken back to the operating room without delay to address it.  We showed that through these days, the patient was closely monitored with the known leak being a priority among a list of medical problems. 

Result:  After a trial of approximately two weeks, the jury returned a defendant’s verdict in three hours.