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Medical Malpractice Verdict for Bowel Cut During Surgery

A New Jersey jury awarded a woman $6 Million and her husband $500,000 for injuries she suffered when her OB-GYN (obstetrician) cut her bowel during a routine caesarean section (“c-section”) in 2001. The doctor testifed that a piece of Jane Bodell’s small intestine was stuck to her uterus and that while trying to separate the bowel from the uterus, he unknowingly cut the bowel. He then failed to discover that he had cut the bowel until a subsequent exploratory surgery intended to determine why Mrs. Bodell was suffering from severe abdominal pain and fever after her c-section.

As a result of the bowel being cut, the contents of the bowel leaked into the stomach, which caused infections, organ scarring and blockages of the intestines. Mrs. Bodell now requires surgery on a regular basis to keep her condition manageable. The jury awarded Mrs. Bodell $6 Million for her pain and suffering and her husband $500,00 for his “loss of consortium” claim (his loss of Mrs. Bodell’s companionship and marital services related to her injuries).

Surgical mishaps are a common source of medical malpractice cases. Although cutting the bowel or another organ during surgery is frequently a recognized complication of surgery, when detecting such a complication is delayed, it may be medical negligence.