$5M Verdict to Family of Gallbladder Surgery Victim

After undergoing gallbladder surgery in July of 2014, a 49-year-old Philadelphia woman was discharged from a hospital the same day and sent home, only to die five days later of complications following the surgery.

That premature hospital discharge, and her follow-up care at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, has led to a $5 million medical malpractice jury verdict to the family of the victim, according to an Aug. 3 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

Janette Lambert underwent gallbladder surgery on July 22, 2014, which was followed by a physical therapy session, and then was discharged despite complaining of severe pain, the story reported. Lambert returned to the hospital two days later, continuing to complain about severe pain, and was diagnosed as suffering from a bile leak following her original surgery. A bile leak can be a complication following gallbladder procedures. The patient, who also suffered from sickle cell anemia, was treated for the leak with a drain.

Despite the patient’s history of sickle cell anemia, doctors did not order a related hematology consult, which would have provided more information about her condition following the surgery, the story reported. Lambert stopped breathing in the hospital on July 26, four days after the original surgery, was resuscitated and then was taken to an intensive care unit for treatment. She tragically died one day later.

In a pretrial memo, the victim’s daughter contended “that Lambert suffered a sickle cell attack after her initial discharge, which, combined with the bile peritonitis, caused unrelenting pain, multiple organ failure and death.”

Following a five-day trial in July, a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas found the hospital 90 percent liable for Lambert’s death, while finding her doctor, Dr. Mark J. Kaplan, 10 percent liable in the case. The family was awarded damages of $4.6 million for wrongful death and $400,000 under the Pennsylvania Survival Act.

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Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/stuartbur

The plaintiffs also alleged that “hospital residents did not have a uniform understanding about discharging, and that Kaplan attributed the premature discharge to misinformation he was provided by residents.”

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 malpractice and 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 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 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.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.