Colonoscopy lawsuit results in $2 million award

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A colonoscopy that resulted in a 62-year-old man having more than two feet of his colon removed because of test-related perforations resulted in a $2 million verdict against two doctors who cared for the plaintiff in 2008.

A 12-member Philadelphia jury deliberated for eight hours over two days before finding this month that Michael Resnick, who performed the colonoscopy on Richard McCade, was 60 percent negligent for Mr. McCade's perforated colon and resulting surgeries. The jury found Lawrence M. Wald was 40 percent negligent for allegedly further perforating Mr. McCade's colon during follow-up procedures to fix subsequent complications from the initial tear.

According to Mr. McCade's pretrial memorandum in McCade v. Wills Eye Hospital, Dr. Resnick "dramatically overinflated" Mr. McCade's colon during the Jan. 25, 2008, colonoscopy. When Mr. McCade complained to Dr. Resnick of severe pain the next day, the doctor directed him to go to the emergency room where a CT scan showed no free air, meaning there was no perforation.

Mr. McCade's attorney, Roy DeCaro of Raynes McCarty, said the hospital appropriately treated Mr. McCade with antibiotics for an obstruction and monitored him. But a CT scan a few days later showed a perforation and Mr. McCade required emergency surgery.

Dr. Resnick argued in his pretrial memorandum that the perforation was a known complication of the procedure and noted in the informed consent.

But Mr. DeCaro said he argued the colon was overinflated to a level beyond the standard of care and the jury seemed to agree. Dr. Resnick's attorney, Frank A. Gerolamo of Gerolamo McNulty Divis & Lewbart, did not return a call for comment.

"The jurors believed that Mr. Resnick overinflated the colon and that it wasn't just a little bit, it was a lot," said Mr. DeCaro's co-counsel, Charles P. Hehmeyer. "These doctors are given a certain amount of latitude, but this colon was so overinflated that it was really beyond what people thought was reasonable."

Mr. McCade's medical problems persisted after the emergency surgery, bringing other doctors into the mix and, ultimately, into the case.

Dr. Wald's attorney, John P. Shusted of German Gallagher & Murtagh, said he and his client were weighing all options at this point, including filing post-trial motions. Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro presided over the case held in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.


Gina Passarella: gpassarella@alm.com or 215-557-2494. To read more articles like this, visit www.thelegalintelligencer.com .


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