Plaintiff v. Defendant Surgeon

  • 05/10/2017
    Counsel: John M. McGarry
    Client: Defendant Surgeon
    Outcome: Verdict for the defense


Donohue Brown’s John McGarry successfully defended a surgeon accused of professional negligence in not performing surgery on a man with acute, necrotizing, infected pancreatitis.

The plaintiff, 57, went to a medical center in the Chicago suburbs where CT scans revealed his pancreas was inflamed, necrotic, and later infected. The patient had multi-system organ failure.  The defendant surgeon ordered percutaneous drainage of the abscess rather than surgery, and the patient stabilized, only to die a week later.

The plaintiff’s two experts from Harvard Medical School claimed the surgeon deviated from the standard of care by not performing a pancreatic necrosectomy when the patient failed to improve clinically. 

The defense experts testified the risks of surgery outweighed the benefits, given the greater than 80% mortality risk of surgery and the safer alternative of drainage.

The plaintiff requested $2.5 to $3.5 million for the wife and sons’ loss of society.  The Lake County jury returned a verdict for the defense.