Supreme Court, Orange County

The plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the hospital after she became jaundiced. She had already been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The defendant gastroenterologist was called in for a consultation and chose to perform an ERCP, during which he observed two small, round objects in the common bile duct. He decided to attempt to remove those objects, and during that procedure the small intestine was inadvertently perforated, which set in motion a series of events that resulted in the patient’s death about a month later. The plaintiff claimed that the gastroenterologist should have performed a non-invasive MRCP, a safer procedure that would not have resulted in a perforation. The defense argued that the ERCP was justified because the objects were most likely small gallstones in the common bile duct, a dangerous situation that could have been fatal. Since during an ERCP the physician has the ability to remove stones, the defense argued that the gastroenterologist did in fact perform the correct procedure and that the perforation was a risk of ERCP that can occur in the absence of negligence.

Result : Defense verdict for the gastroenterologist.
Defense Attorney : For the gastroenterologist: Sarah E. Sholes.
Skip to content