Surgeons Nicked Artery Forcing Second Surgery, Woman Claims
1-23-2019 17:39:00

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CN) – A young mother had to endure a second surgery after the original surgery was abandoned due to excessive bleeding the surgeons had caused by nicking an artery, according to her Solano County Superior Court case.

Maria C. Flores sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; Adele E. Roja and M.D., Gavin Lee, D.P.M., for medical negligence. 

Flores, 28, was in severe abdominal pain and went to the emergency department of the Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo. She had a history of gallstones, and it was determined that she had “biliary colic, which means, in lay terms, a gallstone attack,” according to the action.

It was determined that Flores needed two procedures, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder through a small incision) and a surgical endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (injection of a dye through a tube inserted from the mouth for visualization of gallstones in the bile ducts, with possible widening of the duct for gallstone removal), the suit states. 

Both procedures can be done in combination, the suit says. Magnetic imaging had shown two small gallstones blocking Flores’ bile duct and blood tests had shown “increasing liver byproduct concentrations,” meaning that the gallstones needed to be removed from the duct, according to the action.

During the surgery, defendants Roja and Lee used a scalpel to make an incision near the navel. A large amount of blood was observed, as well as a hematoma. A larger abdominal incision was made, “extending several inches above and below the umbilicus,” to explore the source of the bleeding.

When defendants Roja and Lee made the initial incision, the scalpel was inserted “deeply into Flores’ body on an errant journey beginning near the umbilicus, then cutting through the anterior peritoneum and entering into the peritoneal cavity, then continuing through the peritoneal cavity, then exiting out of the peritoneal cavity through the posterior peritoneum into the retroperitoneal space, and then continuing through the retroperitoneal space and into the artery, causing the artery to bleed,” the action claims. The artery was clipped to stop the bleeding.

Roja then palpated the bile duct with her gloved hand, did not feel any stones, and even though they had been seen on the magnetic imaging, she abandoned the gallstone removal procedure, according to the suit. However, they did remove the gallbladder.

After the surgery, Flores continued to have pain, nausea and elevated liver enzymes, indicating that the gallstones still needed to be removed, so she had a second surgery a week after the first one, the action says. During that time, food was withheld from her in anticipation of the surgery, she had continuing pain, and she incurred additional medical and child care expenses. 

The suit alleges that during the first surgery, the defendant surgeons did not follow standard procedures for abdominal surgery, such as elevating the front abdominal wall away from underlying abdominal contents, using blunt instruments to divide the deep fascia, using clamps to elevate the deep fascia before entering the peritoneal cavity and so on.

Flores seeks special and general compensatory damages, interest and legal costs. She is represented by Thomas Quick in Hayward, California.