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Laparotomy Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Hole in Bowel

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a Texas woman who died as a result of a hole in her bowel that allegedly occurred during an exploratory laparotomy. 

The medical malpractice suit was brought by the family of Hanh Thi Ngo, against Dr. Jerone F. Schrapps, Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth, Christus Dubuis Hospital of Beaumont, and Southeast Texas Surgical Associates on May 25, in Jefferson County District Court.

Ngo died on May 5, 2009 as a result of complications from septic shock and multiple organ failure after being taken off life support. 

According to the complaint, her problems began on March 15, 2009, with an exploratory laparotomy performed by Schrapps to treat a small bowel obstruction.

By April 1, Ngo was experiencing problems that included fever, high white blood cell counts and other signs of infection. A CAT scan revealed multiple abscesses that suggested that she had a hole in her bowel, which the lawsuit claims was the result of Schrapp’s laparotomy surgery.

Schrapp took corrective measures to address the problem on April 2, and Ngo entered long-term care at Christus Dubuis. However, two weeks later she was hospitalized and found to be bleeding from an open wound. She was treated and placed on a ventilator at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth. 

Ngo was eventually transferred to Methodist Hospital in Houston, which diagnosed her as having septic shock and multiple organ failure due to an inter-abdominal catastrophe. She continued to be nonresponsive and required a ventilator to breathe until the family decided to remove her from life support on May 5. 

According to a report by the Southeast Texas Record, the laparotomy malpractice lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligent medical care and seeks compensation for medical costs, lost wages, services, consortium, mental anguish, as well as funeral and burial expenses. The complaint was filed by Ngo’s husband and three children.

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