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Philadelphia Partner Wins Medical Professional Liability Verdict in Court of Common Pleas

Litchfield Cavo LLP partner Andrew S. Kessler successfully tried a case brought by the widower of a 56 year-old woman. The Decedent passed away 12 days after having laparoscopic surgery to remove her infected gallbladder. Plaintiff sued the general surgeon and our hospital client claiming that the Decedent’s cause of death was due to the surgeon transecting the common bile duct during the surgery procedure.

The defense successfully challenged three key facts when presenting to the jury, ultimately disproving Plaintiff’s claim. Defense counsel proved that two days following the Plaintiff’s surgery the Decedent underwent an ultrasound of the pelvis and abdomen finding that there was no free fluid present. The defense demonstrated that had the common bile duct been transected significant amounts of bile would have been present which was not the case with the Decedent. The defense also presented expert testimony from a general surgeon and from a critical care medicine specialist who testified that if the common bile duct had been transected, it would not have possible to pass a wire and a catheter from the liver through the common bile duct and into the duodenum as was the case with the Decedent. Finally, the clinical autopsy report did not identify a transected common bile duct.

The case was heard in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the trial lasted four days, though the jury verdict was quickly rendered with just one hour and 10 minutes of deliberations.