N.C. Vascular Surgeon to Pay $2 Million in Malpractice Verdict

Dorothy Tyndall went into Pitt Memorial Hospital in May 2007 for vascular surgery. She came out of Pitt Memorial Hospital with a misplaced surgical clip still left inside her, which resulted in the loss of her only functioning kidney

On December 27, 2013, a Lenoir County jury awarded Tyndall a $2 million verdict after just 75 minutes of deliberation for medical malpractice .

Tyndall had suffered for years with vascular disease that left her with only half of a kidney, which was not functioning well. She suffered pain from an aortic aneurysm, which is a bulge in part of the aorta (our main artery that carries oxygen from the heart to the rest of our body). This is considered a dangerous condition. She was frail and had serious health issues.

Tyndall underwent an endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair to fix the bulge in her aorta. The surgeon, Dr. Stoner, misplaced a surgical clip and left it inside of her The result of this mistake cost Tyndall the one failing kidney she had.

Dr. Stoner claimed that during the surgery, Plaintiff experienced internal bleeding. Stoner used surgical clips, about the size of a paper staple, to seal off bleeding vessels. However, Stoner misidentified where he placed two of the clips, putting them off to her left ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidneys (Tyndall’s one functioning kidney) to the bladder. She is now on dialysis.

It took eight weeks to figure out what the problem was. It was determined that going back in to get the clips would be too great a risk for Tyndall, who was already fighting for her health. Instead, her doctor placed a permanent, artificial tube to drain the urine from her kidney into an external collection bag. Not only was this devastating and inconvenient, it increases the risk of kidney infection significantly. Tyndall had been to the hospital 21 times from the date of surgery until her trial for kidney infections.

The trial took two and a half weeks, but the jury came to their decision in just 75 minutes, awarding Tyndall a $2 million verdict.

Although doctors are making progress in avoiding these types of mistakes, unfortunately, the patient’s unexpected bleeding may have caused the doctor and surgical team to lose count of the surgical clips. It was stated that a clip should not ever be placed on the ureter. If the surgeon checked his work on the way out, he would have seen that he inadvertently clipped the ureter.

If you or a loved one were a victim of malpractice, you should contact one of our experienced Gacovino Lake attorneys for more information at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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