Indiana Jury Awards $1.5 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Indiana Jury Awards $1.5 Million in Medical Malpractice LawsuitA woman from New Albany, Indiana, was recently awarded $1.5 million by a Clark County jury after claiming a surgeon was liable for her condition due to a delayed operation, the Clark County News and Tribune reports.

According to the news source, 30-year-old Michelle Wells Fischer developed short gut syndrome after most of her small intestine was removed in 2003. The jury found that the surgeon who was supposed to performed the operation, Dr. William H. Garner, was liable for her injuries.

Fischer, who was 21 at the time, checked into Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services with abdominal pain and saw Garner for a surgical consultation. Fischer's attorney says Garner initially stated that surgery was necessary and slotted the procedure for the next day. However after meeting with her the next morning, he reportedly cancelled the operation based on new information, the media outlet stated.

"After changing his mind to operate, he then went out of town for the weekend and did not procure any surgical coverage," her lawyer stated.

Fischer's condition worsened over the next two days, and she became so ill that doctors allegedly feared should could die. Three days after being admitted into the hospital, another surgeon was called in to perform emergency surgery on the woman.

It was determined Fischer had ischemic bowel disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, intestinal ischemia and infarction is the damage or death of part of the intestine caused by a decrease in blood supply. It is considered a serious condition that can result in death if not treated properly. If prompt treatment is delivered, a good outcome can be achieved.

Fischer's attorney says that her entire bowel would not have died had the condition been spotted earlier.

"We argued the standard of care in the medical community says you either need to operate in a timely fashion, or if you don’t believe operating is the best option at a particular time, you need to continue to follow that patient," he said. "It’s not enough to just say no operation."

Fischer, a former runner and cheerleader, is now affected by her condition, as she retained only a couple feet of her small intestine, compared to the 22 feet an average human has.

"I’m thankful for how my life has turned out, but it’s still going to be a long road ahead," she stated. "We’ll deal with it on a day-to-day basis."