Plaintiff v. Defendant Gastroenterologist

Synopsis:

Plaintiff, 67 years old, presented to a Chicago hospital on January 6, 2011, for a colonoscopy to be performed by the defendant gastroenterologist. During the procedure, the plaintiff reported that she had not taken all of the colonoscopy prep solution, but that the amount she took produced the desired result.

The defendant gastroenterologist encountered poor visualization due to retained stool, but used the colonoscope to irrigate and suction the stool in the colon, and completed the exam. The plaintiff developed severe pain in the recovery room and was diagnosed with a colon perforation. The plaintiff was taken to surgery, where the perforation was stapled and a diverting ileostomy was performed.

At trial, the plaintiff argued that the defendant gastroenterologist violated the standard of care by failing to abandon the colonoscopy once he encountered poor visualization secondary to retained stool.

The defense argued that it was within the standard of care for the defendant gastroenterologist to proceed with the colonoscopy because he was able to obtain adequate visualization by irrigating and suctioning the retained stool. The defense further argued that the perforation was likely caused by the plaintiff’s advanced diverticular disease, which weakened the wall of the colon, rather than poor visualization.

The plaintiff asked the jury to award $880,000. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours and returned a not guilty verdict.