Man in Terrible Shape After Misdiagnosis, He Claims
PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A man claims Kaiser misdiagnosed gall bladder problems as constipation and then cut his bile duct during surgery, in a $4.6 million lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
George Melnichuk sued Dr. Catharina A. Hoeksema, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and Northwest Permanente P.C. on Oct. 28, alleging medical malpractice.
Melnichuk says he went to Kaiser in mid-February for stomach pain, where he was diagnosed with constipation and sent home. When his pain didn’t go away, he went back a few days later and was told he had an inflamed gall bladder, which required surgery.
During the surgery, Dr. Hoeksema cut Melnichuk’s common bile duct and portal vein, which transfers blood from the liver to the spleen, with a surgical stapling device, according to the complaint.
Since his gall bladder was so inflamed and swollen, Hoeksema could not see what she was cutting and stapling. Melnichuk claims she should have used pre-surgery imaging and contrast materials before and during the operation so she would know the size and location of his organs, and should have stopped the procedure “when the distorted anatomy became evident,” the complaint states.
Worse still, she damaged his liver during the process, and he had to have four post-surgical procedures, including the repair of his bile duct and the removal of part of his liver, according to the complaint.
Thanks to Hoeksema’s mistakes, Melnichuk says, he has suffered prolonged breathing problems, hemorrhagic shock from severe blood and fluid loss, acute kidney injury, and has been in a hospital bed for months.
Had Kaiser properly diagnosed him, Melnichuk’s organs would not have been so inflamed that they were almost impossible to identify, and the procedure would most likely have been a success, the complaint states.
Melnichuk seeks $850,000 in economic damages and $3.5 million in non-economic damages, as well as court costs and fees.
He is represented by Larry Sokol with Sokol & Foster.