For more information of confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Surgical Mistake Lawsuit Alleges Wrongful Death

surgical mistake lawsuit

A surgical mistake lawsuit filed by a widower recently reached trial before Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Frances McGee. Dennis K. Snowden, the plaintiff, alleges that doctors left a laparotomy sponge inside his late wife’s body during a surgery in February of 2009.

The surgical mistake is alleged to have caused complications that led to the death of Eugenia A. Snowden. The plaintiff’s lawsuit names multiple defendants, including Dr. Akpofure Ekeh, nurses, scrub technicians, Wright State Physicians, and other medical professionals.

Alleged series of surgery mistakes

The decedent underwent a 17-hour surgery at Miami Valley Hospital, led by a Wright State Physicians doctor. The surgery took place between February 26th and the 27th in 2009. The sheer length of the procedure meant that several shift changes occurred during the surgery. This is believed to have contributed to the deviation from the standard of care. According to the opening statement by the counsel for the plaintiff, medical personnel informed Ekeh, the surgeon, that the sponge count was incorrect. Ekeh subsequently ordered an x-ray. Then, the surgeon removed one laparotomy sponge from the decedent’s body and was informed that the sponge count was now correct.

However, the surgery was allegedly completed before Ekeh examined the x-ray. Had he looked at the x-ray, the plaintiff alleges he would have seen another missed sponge in the decedent’s upper left abdomen. The surgical mistake lawsuit alleges that Ekeh failed to examine the x-ray until about five to six weeks after the surgery.

Decedent underwent additional surgeries

After finally noticing the missed sponge, Ekeh attempted two subsequent surgeries to try to remove it. Both of those surgeries failed and during one of the procedures, the decedent’s spleen was allegedly injured. Following the failed attempts, Ekeh is said to have recommended a second opinion for the decedent’s medical condition. The decedent was transferred to another hospital, at which she was diagnosed as having a medical problem caused by a foreign object in her body. At the second hospital, a surgeon was finally able to remove the sponge during a nine-hour surgery on October 1, 2009.

According to the counsel for the plaintiff, Mrs. Snowden never fully recovered from the initial surgery due to complications caused by the alleged surgical errors. These complications are said to have led to the passing of the 58-year-old woman on May 7, 2010.

Medical malpractice lawsuits involving surgical errors are all too common. Some mistakes cause only temporary effects, while others may lead to permanent disability or even death. Plaintiffs commonly demand compensation for their pain and suffering, disability, medical expenses, and lost wages. The plaintiff in this particular lawsuit may have also demanded compensation for loss of consortium and companionship.

Defense attorney acknowledges certain surgical errors

In his opening statement, the counsel for the defendants acknowledged to jurors that the sponge count was off and that Ekeh failed to examine the x-ray after finding one of the sponges. “It is a deviation from standard care,” said the attorney. However, the counsel for the defense also claimed that the decedent had a complex intestinal condition and that other circumstances led to her passing.