If you’re suffering severe and debilitating complications after gallbladder surgery, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact The Mellino Law Firm with any questions you may have. You may also download or request Chris’s free, easy-to-read guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio. Our experienced surgical injury lawyers in Cleveland are prepared to fight for the justice and recovery you deserve.
Schedule a complimentary case evaluation today; call (440) 276-3535 or contact us online to get started.
Gallbladder Surgery Statistics
On February 10, 2010, CNN reported that 500,000 gallbladder surgeries are performed each year across the country, and “[a]t most, only one out of every 1,000 patients dies during gallbladder removal,” per the American College of Surgeons.
“Gallstones are the most common… digestive disease in the United States,” About.com stated on July 27, 2010. “More than 20 million Americans have gallstones and approximately one million new cases are diagnosed each year.”
These crystalline masses range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball, according to WebMD, and send more than 800,000 people to the hospital each year with pancreatitis symptoms, such as abdominal pain and tenderness, increased heart rate, nausea, fever, sweating, and jaundice. They also kill approximately 3,000 Americans each year, per About.com.
Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder Removal) Complications
As Mayo Clinic stated July 25, 2013, “Cholecystectomy is most commonly performed by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder.”
In fact, two months earlier, Medscape reported that “Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has rapidly become the procedure of choice for routine gallbladder removal and has become the most common major abdominal procedure performed in Western countries.” Between 1990 and 1995, the number of laparoscopic cholecystectomies shot up from 10 percent to 80 percent.
Why has this procedure become more popular than “open surgery,” in which the gallbladder is taken out through one long incision? “[Laparoscopic cholecystectomy] decreases postoperative pain, decreases need for postoperative analgesia, shortens hospital stay from one week to less than 24 hours, and returns the patient to full activity within one week compared to one month,” Medscape stated.
Also, as nytimes.com noted August 26, 2012, “There are fewer complications.”
Still, every surgery presents risks. In the case of gallbladder removal, “Injury to the bile duct is the most serious complication of laparoscopy… but increasing surgical experience and the use of cholangiography is reducing this complication,” nytimes.com stated. “Patients should not be shy about inquiring into the number of laparoscopies the surgeon has performed (the minimum should be 40).”
According to Mayo Clinic, cholecystectomy patients may suffer:
- Bile leakage
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Heart problems
- Organ perforation
To determine whether you have a viable gallbladder removal lawsuit or whether you still have time to file one under Ohio’s statute of limitations, contact our Cleveland surgical error attorneys for a free consultation.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit when a Loved One Dies from Gallbladder Surgery
Despite their training, surgeons sometimes make mistakes. In 2010, Democratic Rep. John Murtha was discharged after having his gallbladder removed, but he returned to the hospital three days later and died because “doctors ‘hit his intestines’ during surgery,” according to CNN reporter Elizabeth Landau.
As Dr. Albert Wu told Landau, “If the intestine is perforated, stool can leak into the abdomen, causing an infection that leads to a severe illness called sepsis. If the patient begins taking antibiotics immediately when that happens, that could solve the problem, but if the perforation goes unnoticed and several days pass, the infection can get worse and result in death.”
If a surgical mistake caused a loved one’s death, you probably have a good case, but a medical malpractice lawyer would have to review the medical records, perhaps consult an expert, and determine whether you still have time to file a claim under Ohio’s statute of limitations.
You may also be able to file a claim if a surgeon failed to remove an infected gallbladder in time to save the patient’s life. For instance, on June 18, 2008, a man was admitted to a hospital with biliary colic and gallbladder inflammation, according to outpatientsurgery.net. He was supposed to undergo surgery the next morning, but “the hospital ‘inexcusably failed to perform the surgery on June 20 or June 21,’ according to court records.”
As a result, he developed sepsis, suffered cardiac arrest, and died. A jury awarded his family more than $7.5 million for pain and suffering, as well as lost wages that he would have contributed to the household, had he lived.
How The Mellino Law Firm Can Help You & Your Family
On February 20, 2002, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sarah Crump wrote that attorney Chris Mellino and his former partner “set the standard for big medical malpractice lawsuit payouts in Ohio. In a single year, 1997, they won judgments totaling $30 million.” In fact, the pair made the cover of Ohio Lawyers Weekly‘s supplement “Largest Verdicts & Settlements 1997” after being awarded the largest verdict in the state.
Our firm focuses on surgical errors. Please contact us if you have questions about a potential gallbladder removal claim. We also invite you to read testimonials, to learn about results we’ve achieved for previous clients, and to download or request Chris Mellino’s free, easy-to-read guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio.
Reach out to us today at (440) 276-3535 for a free consultation with one of our surgical injury lawyers in Cleveland.