Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis in 17 Year Old

To read excerpts of the trial transcript, click here

Phil Russotti recently settled a case against five doctors after eight weeks of trial for $4.5 million dollars. The case concerned their failure to timely diagnose appendicitis and operate on a 17 year old boy. Phil proved that as a result of delaying surgery for three days the boy developed an abdominal infection which caused severe intestinal adhesions requiring five subsequent operations, leaving him with disfiguring abdominal scars and the likelihood of future surgery. Our research reveals that this is the largest recovery for a failure to diagnose appendicitis case in the country.

An eight week trial was required because of the number of defendants and the complicated medical issues which dealt with infectious disease, gastroenterology, surgery, pathology, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal radiology and tropical disease. Phil’s cross examination of the defendant doctors contributed to the settlement because he was able to force them to contradict each other. For example, he got one defendant doctor to agree that his colleague deviated from the standard of care by not following up on a test result; another defendant doctor admitted that he made a medical decision which delayed surgery for three days because a co-defendant doctor failed to include appendicitis in his differential diagnosis; and a third defendant doctor conceded that the delay in surgery adversely effected the boy’s outcome.

The case was made more difficult because at the appendectomy, the appendix was found to be fully intact and not perforated. Phil had to prove that during the delay prior to surgery the appendix developed microperforations allowing bacteria to seep out which seeded the intestines resulting in the adhesions. The case finally settled after the first defense expert testified.

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