$3.34 Million Med Mal Verdict Awarded to Former Athlete

A 27-year-old man who was scheduled to play professional soccer in Colombia after college has received a $3.34 million medical malpractice verdict from a Philadelphia jury to compensate him after a problematic groin surgery left him unable to pursue his soccer career.

The former athlete, Juan Duque, was injured during surgery in 2009 which left him with perforated bowels, according to a July 11 story in The Legal Intelligencer. The surgery had been undertaken to treat groin pain that he was experiencing, the story reported. Duque was three weeks away from heading to Colombia to play professional soccer when the surgery was performed.

Duque filed a lawsuit against Hahnemann University Hospital and Dr. William C. Meyers after his bowels were perforated during the surgery, the story reported. “The real culprit, Duque’s attorneys argued at trial, was the subsequent use of barium for contrasting during a CT scan to determine why Duque was in so much pain a day after surgery,” according to the story. “That barium, according to court documents, caused significant infection and adhesions and to this day, there remains some barium in Duque’s system. Duque argued barium should never be used when there is the possibility of a perforated bowel.”

At the time of the surgery injury, Duque was attending Davidson College, where he was the captain of the Division I school’s soccer team, the story reported. He ended up seeing Meyers for the groin pain that he was experiencing at the time, the story said.

The perforated bowel he had suffered was not diagnosed when he was discharged on the day of the original surgery, according to The Legal Intelligencer. “Within an hour of going home, Duque had severe abdominal pain and was allegedly told by the hospital to get pain medication from the local pharmacy, according to Duque’s pretrial memorandum.”

The next day, Duque’s pain persisted and another pain medication was prescribed by the doctor, the story reported. Later, he was taken to an emergency room, where his doctor sent a resident to check on the patient. After hearing a report from the medical resident that Duque’s white blood cell count was high, the doctor was concerned that possible bowel perforation had occurred, the story said. The initial resident left for the day, but failed to inform another resident that bowel perforation was a concern, the report continued.

That led to the second resident ordering a CT scan with a barium contrast, which was an incorrect move under the circumstances, the story reported. “Barium contrast is absolutely contraindicated in any patient with a known or suspected bowel perforation,” Duque said in his memorandum. “The reason for this is that if barium leaks into the peritoneal cavity, it causes massive inflammation, severe peritonitis and extensive adhesions.”

Duque’s CT scan “showed the perforated bowel with spillage of bowel contents and barium throughout his system,” the story reported. Meyers then repaired the bowel, and Duque remained in the hospital for 18 days recovering from his injuries, the story reported. He had to undergo “another surgery to remove abscesses in his abdomen and had two drains placed in his back to drain the infected fluid that continued to accumulate around his organs,” the story continued.

Duque tried to get back into soccer after his surgeries, but he had lost 35 pounds and didn’t have the same core strength after having two surgeries that cut through his abdomen, the story reported. He was unable to resume his athletic career and now works as a consultant.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a similar medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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