Smith Haughey Medical Malpractice Defense Attorneys Receive a No-Cause Verdict

Grand Rapids, Mich., Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2015 – Attorneys Jason Sebolt  and Jack O’Loughlin received a no-cause verdict on behalf of their clients, two emergency department physicians, an emergency department physician’s assistant and the hospital where the care was rendered.  The trial lasted three weeks and involved a 26 year old female who presented to the hospital’s emergency department with complaints of 9 days of constipation following a procedure to remove an intrauterine device.  The patient had been previously seen at a different hospital with the same complaints and was treated with stool softeners, laxatives and pain medications.  During the emergency department visit at issue, the patient was cared for by a physician’s assistant under the supervision of emergency department physicians.  An appropriate workup was completed and the patient was diagnosed with constipation.  An enema was subsequently ordered by the physician assistant and administered by a nurse.  Due to the degree of constipation, the patient required the enema be given in two parts.  After the second portion was administered the patient’s vital signs and condition changed.  She was appropriately evaluated and a perforated colon was discovered, which resulted in surgery to repair the defect.  Plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to order a CT scan and other tests which allegedly would have shown a rare condition called a stercoral ulcer.  Attorneys Jason Sebolt and Jack O’Loughlin defended the case by proving that the patient’s presentation and physical examination did not warrant additional workup for a diagnosis other than constipation.  Additionally, they demonstrated that the colon was sufficiently damaged that the surgery she ended up having was the same one she would have needed even had the diagnosis been made earlier.