Indianapolis Gall Bladder Injury Lawyer - Cohen & Malad, LLP

Bile Leak After Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Indianapolis, IN Gall Bladder Injury Attorneys


While a doctor can develop a certain level of expertise by performing a task repetitively, there is nothing “routine” about surgery. Each patient is different and their response to surgical procedures is also different. For this reason, it is very important that medical professionals adhere to the proper duty of care for their patients to ensure their safety. If they do not, they can be sued for medical malpractice for providing substandard care or negligence.

One form of treatment for symptomatic gallstones is a cholecystectomy, or removal of the gall bladder. Gallstones are made up of crystallized bile from the gall bladder along with other fluids. These stones typically pass through the body but can sometimes cause obstructions which can lead to serious injury and pain.

A cholecystectomy can be performed using either a laparoscopic method or an open method to alleviate the problem. Laparoscopic surgery which is the preferred method, requires small incisions to be made in the abdomen so that a scope can be used instead of opening the abdomen. An open surgery, considered to be far more invasive, requires a 5-7 inch incision through the abdominal muscles. Doctors cite the advantages of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy as less pain, quicker healing, and fewer complications as compared to an open cholecystectomy.

When selecting a doctor to perform a surgical procedure, the patient should pay close attention to the training, experience, and skill of the doctor. Serious complications and injury can occur if a doctor lacks the skill to perform the surgery. One type of injury that can arise for a patient who undergoes a laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a bile leak after the procedure is completed. Symptoms of a bile leakage include severe pain and breathing problems. If a bile leak is not quickly identified, it can pool in the abdominal cavity which can cause an infection (peritonitis) serious enough to be fatal.

Summary of a Bile Leak Claim

The patient underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in Lake County, Indiana. Several days after the surgery, she experienced severe pain in the upper right quadrant of her abdomen as well as difficulty breathing, for which she taken to the emergency room. Despite the fact that she was exhibiting classic symptoms of a bile leak, which is a complication known to arise after gall bladder surgery, the defendants failed to perform the appropriate diagnostic tests for five days after she was admitted to the hospital. During this time, the patient was in significant pain as caustic bile leaked into her abdomen. Once the “massive” leak was finally diagnosed, the defendant gastroenterologist performed a procedure to stop the leak; however, he did nothing to determine whether the procedure had been successful. In fact, the procedure was not successful and the patient’s condition declined as bile continued to leak freely into her abdomen. It wasn’t until the patient’s husband demanded that she be transferred that the continued bile leak was diagnosed and treated. Unfortunately, by that time the patient had gone into multi-system organ failure which made it necessary to intubate her (put a tube down her throat such that machines could breathe for her) and put her into a medically-induced coma. Once the patient was treated appropriately, she was discharged from the hospital to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, where she stayed for weeks before returning home. This case is pending and awaiting trial.

Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact us today. Our experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorneys can provide you with a free initial consultation and can advise you of your legal rights and options. We have litigated medical malpractice cases all across Indiana- from Lake County, South Bend, Kokomo, Muncie, Anderson, Evansville and Indianapolis. Cohen & Malad, LLP has earned a well-respected reputation as a tough litigation firm in the courtroom and during negotiations and can bring Power to Your Voice.