Involve Your Medical Experts Early For Optimum Case Outcomes

“I Probably Should Have Contacted You Sooner…”

This opening line, on the phone or in office, strikes apprehension in your medical experts—or any expert, for that matter. Involving your experts as early as possible can quickly identify non-meritorious cases, save time, streamline case issues, improve case outcomes and the attorneys’ bottom line.

I recall a medical malpractice case several years ago involving a malfunctioning piece of life support equipment and multiple medical and nursing professionals, as well as falsified medical documentation.  By the time the attorney contacted me late in the process as a Nurse Expert, the medical equipment company had been excluded from the case, and it was too late to include several of the medical and nursing professionals responsible for significant breaches in the standard of care.  

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Saving Your Malpractice Case

The Fact Pattern

A 62-year-old male, Mr. Block, was in good health and had been a patient of Doctor Byrnes for many years. The patient had a history of rectal polyps which were removed in the operating room on several different occasions. The polyps continuously recurred despite adequate resection by Doctor Byrnes. The patient was compliant in every way and had a good relationship with Doctor Byrnes.

During a routine yearly visit, Doctor Byrnes found another rectal polyp. It looked suspicious and worrisome for a possible malignancy. Doctor Byrnes felt that a wider, more extensive local resection would be necessary. He told this to the patient, and the patient understood and agreed. Doctor Byrnes told Mr. Block that he (Doctor Byrnes) was now referring his operative patients to his younger associate, Doctor Madding. Doctor Madding examined Mr. Block. Doctor Madding concurred with the diagnosis and the proposed treatment plan. He established a rapport with the patient, explained the treatment plan and discussed potential complications with Mr. Block. In fact, Doctor Madding met twice with Mr. Block and did his best to explain the upcoming operation and tried to put Mr. Block at ease.

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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

The gallbladder is a bile storage organ which is attached to the bottom surface of the liver. It stores bile which is an emulsifier for fat, and after a fatty meal, a hormone causes the gallbladder to contract, squeezing the bile into the common bile duct, the main bile duct, and from there into the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum. The problem with bile storage in some patients, particularly women who are over the age of 40, overweight and have had children, the stagnant bile can form gallstones. This can cause severe pain, and sometimes infection.

The modern way to remove a gallbladder is using the laparoscope. Small incisions are made into the abdomen, the gallbladder is grasped at its top surface, and the connection between the gallbladder and the common bile duct, the cystic duct, must be must be observed to be sure that the common bile duct is never injured. An injury to the common bile duct results in a serious lifelong disaster, with scarring and repetitive obstruction of bile flow, resulting in jaundice, liver failure, and sometimes infection.

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