By: Staff Writers | Published: September 13th, 2010
A Maryland woman was awarded $1.1 million last month for medical malpractice during a gallbladder removal surgery that resulted in severe internal injuries.
Phyllis Rode, 79, filed the Baltimore medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Chiau-Wen Hsiao, a general surgeon from Franklin Square Hospital Center, alleging that the surgeon cut her hepatic duct while removing her gallbladder.
The gallbladder assists the body in the digestive process and stores bile produced by the liver. As a result of the severed bile duct, Rode had to undergo additional surgeries, was hospitalized in intensive care for 10 days, and had to wear tubes that drained the ducts for 10 months.
Hsia claimed that the severed duct is a known potential complication of gallbladder surgery and said that Rode had given consent. His attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial, saying that evidence of Rode’s informed consent was wrongly excluded from the trial. Rode’s malpractice attorneys, from the prominent law firm Miller and Zois, argued that consent is irrelevant when the doctor failed to meet expected standards of care.
Severed or punctured bile ducts during gallbladder surgery are a fairly common complication that can be caused by a medical mistake. It is one of the leading causes of medical malpractice lawsuits, since certain steps can be taken by the surgeon to reduce the risk of a severed duct during gallbladder surgery. When the proper degree of medical care is not followed, the doctor may be held liable for malpractice during gallbladder surgery.
Although the jury awarded Rode $106,000 in medical expenses and $1 million in pain and suffering damages, the Maryland damage cap will limit the non-economic damages to $665,000, according to a report in the Maryland Daily Record.