Heyl Royster



Pomatto and Brady Successfully Defend Surgeon at Wrongful Death Trial


Doug Pomatto and Jana Brady defended a general surgeon in a two-week medical malpractice wrongful-death jury trial that concluded in a defense verdict on October 6. Plaintiff/Decedent was a 65-year-old female with symptoms of GERD, vomiting, and abdominal pain after eating. She was known to have a hiatal hernia with half to a majority of her stomach above her diaphragm and twisted (called volvulus). During laparoscopic surgery, our client surgeon found the entire stomach in the chest and twisted with omental fatty tissue. When trying to reduce the stomach into the abdomen and dissect the fat, he saw venous bleeding and bile. He stopped the bleeding and then converted the procedure to an open surgery. He was able to repair an injured portal vein and a severed common bile duct. The patient was transfused and readied to be transferred to ICU. At that point, the patient suddenly developed a coagulopathy. Defense experts opined the coagulopathy was of unknown cause and was not related to the original bleed. Unfortunately the patient ultimately died from the coagulopathy. At trial, the defense argued that the surgeon had an unavoidable complication related to the decedent’s grossly deformed anatomy. The jury agreed, and after deliberating for a little more than two hours, it returned with a defense verdict for the defendant surgeon and his surgical group.