In October of 2008, the personal injury lawyers at Gaddis, Kin, Herd & Craw, P.C., of Colorado Springs, Colorado, won another medical malpractice trial. The case involved the death of a man shortly after he had surgery to remove his gallbladder. Tom Herd and Gary Craw tried the case to a jury of six in Judge Timothy Simmons' court in Colorado Springs.
In January of 2005, our client's father had gallbladder surgery at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. Dr. G, who was then practicing in Colorado Springs, was the surgeon who performed the operation. Dr. G now lives and practices in Michigan. The surgery was performed laparoscopically, i.e. by the insertion of a camera and surgical tools through 3 small incisions in the abdomen. At the start of the surgery, Dr. G saw that the patient had cirrhosis of the liver. He did not know this before surgery. Cirrhosis greatly increases the risk of bleeding complications from any surgery. Dr. G decided to go ahead anyway with the surgery, laparoscopically. When Dr. G removed the gallbladder, the patient started bleeding from his liver. Dr. G claimed that he stopped the bleeding before he sent the patient to the recovery room.
The patient was in the recovery room for nearly 3 hours. The entire time his vital signs were abnormal and there was bleeding from the site of the surgery. Dr. G eventually took the patient back to the operating room for a second surgery to stop the bleeding. However, he was not able to stop it because the patient had, by then, developed irreversible bleeding complications. The patient died shortly after the second surgery.
Our client, the patient's daughter, filed a wrongful death claim after we evaluated the medical and legal issues in the case. We claimed that Dr. G was medically negligent and failed to give our client's father informed consent of the risks of the surgery.
Dr. G maintained that he had done nothing wrong and that the patient's death was just an unfortunate risk of surgery. Nonetheless, he offered to settle the case for $10,000. Our client would not accept that offer. Ten days before trial our client offered to settle the case for $150,000.00. At the time of the surgery her dad was retired and there was no loss of income as a result of his death. Dr. G rejected that offer and preferred to take the case to trial.
After trial, a jury of six El Paso County citizens returned a verdict in favor of our client after finding that Dr. G was medically negligent. The total our client recovered for her father's wrongful death was approximately $300,000.