$575K For Failure To Diagnose Esophageal Perforation

Failure to Diagnose

On Friday, April 23, 2010, our 42-year old client settled her claims against her treating gastroenterologist for $575,000 arising from the defendant’s failure to perform basic tests to diagnose an esophageal perforation on the same day as a balloon dilation procedure.

After undergoing a balloon dilation procedure, our client was discharged without any complication and her only symptom was mild abdominal discomfort. Less than two hours after her discharge, our client was taken by ambulance from her home in Saugerties to the Emergency Department of the hospital with the complaint of severe abdominal and chest pain that she rated 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. The ER physician ordered a chest x-ray, which revealed the buildup of fluid in the lower bases of our client’s right and left lungs. The ER physician conveyed the information to the treating gastroenterologist by telephone and they jointly agreed to discharge our client from the hospital.

Two days later, our client was taken back to the Emergency Department of the hospital with the same complaints of severe abdominal and chest pain. On this ER visit, the appropriate test was ordered, a CT scan of the chest, which revealed a 5 centimeter perforation (hole) in the lower part of our client’s esophagus. Emergency surgery was performed at the hospital to repair the esophageal perforation and our client received in-patient treatment at the hospital for 16 days.

After repeated procedures on her esophagus, our client eventually required the surgical removal of two-thirds of her esophagus and later underwent procedures to relieve the chronic nerve pain on the left side of her body.