Verdict of 12 Million Dollars For Brain Damaged Woman Whose Intestine Was Cut By Gastroenterologist During Colonoscopy | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Perforated/Cut Intestine Leads To Brain Damage Following Colonoscopy Complication

A Tennessee jury found in favor of a woman who was left with brain damage after a routine colonoscopy, with a $12,000,000.00 verdict.  Kristen Freeman was only 30 years old when she had bowel troubles and was ordered to undergo a colonoscopy.  Due to complications that arose after the colonoscopy, she went into cardiopulmonary arrest and suffered severe brain damage. 

Her attorneys argued that the doctor conducting the colonoscopy violated the medical standard of care when she contacted the doctor’s office the day after the procedure and complained.  She called his office the next day, she testified, with severe abdominal/stomach pain, vomiting, shortness of breath and chills.  However, the doctor prescribed a suppository to combat nausea.  The endoscopy that she had undergone the day before had caused a tear in her small intestine.  This type of cut/hole is also called a perforation.  The day after she complained to her physician she went to the emergency room and while she was undergoing X-rays, she went into sudden cardiopulmonary arrest and suffered severe brain damage upon being resuscitated. 

Notably, the doctor’s attorneys argued that Freeman herself was responsible in part because she failed to go to the emergency room the day after the colonoscopy procedure, when she apparently was having all of her bad symptoms.  Her attorneys argued that she did what the doctor asked her to and took a suppository, but the failure to go to the emergency room was considered contributory on her behalf under Tennessee law and it reduced her total verdict from $12,000,000.00, to $6.12 million dollars under Tennessee’s comparative negligence system as she was assigned 49% fault.  The case verdict occurred in Hamilton County, Tennessee and was returned on May 2, 2009.  The case name is Freeman v. Goodman.  Colonoscopies are done safely every day, but if a doctor is not careful, or if a doctor is not careful in the followup care, the results can be deadly or devestating, as seen in the Freeman case.
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