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The family of a previously healthy 52 year old wife, mother and grandmother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that medical malpractice during a hernia repair surgery caused severe internal injuries and fatal complications.
The complaint (PDF) was filed in the Delaware Superior Court on October 27, against Dr. Katherine A. Sahm and Advanced Surgical Associates, Ltd, by the family of Reba Postles, who died following a laparoscopic ventral hernia repair in October 2016.
The lawsuit was filed by Reba Postles’ surviving husband, Wayne Postles, and her children, Michael Postles and Carlena Aldrich, alleging that there was no qualified medical resident available at the hospital where the hernia repair was performed.
During the hernia repair, the family indicates that the doctor failed to adequately explore the abdominal cavity, or examine loops of intestine, resulting in a “missed opportunity” to discover hernia repair complications that developed during the surgery, involving an internal laceration.
“Dr. Sahm failed to discover or repair the 10cm laceration in the jejunum caused by the surgery, and for the next several days Reba suffered unimaginable pain as the contents of her bowel spilled out causing extensive tissue damage and peritonitis,” the lawsuit states. “Dr. Sahm performed an exploratory laparotomy on October 7th, 2016, but by then so much damage had occurred that it was too late to treat Reba’s critical condition and she died of multiple organ failure, septic shock and bowel ischemia on October 8, 2016.”
The family alleges that Reba Postles lived the last days of her life in excruciating pain and that Sahm failed in her obligations as a doctor. According to the complaint, Sahm ignored a number of “red flags” that should have indicated there was a problem and should have led to a proper examination of the abdominal cavity and bowel for potential leaks.
“Wayne Postles knew that Reba was in extreme pain as soon as she awoke from the hernia surgery, and that pain medications were not relieving her pain like after previous surgeries. Reba’s pain became so intense that Wayne left the room to find a nurse and insist that something be done about it,” the lawsuit notes. “The agony of watching his wife deteriorate and die in front of him without being able to do something about it, will haunt him the rest of his life.”