Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery (Cholecystectomy)

Laparoscopy is a technique whereby surgery is done by using instruments and a camera inserted through small incisions. Laparoscopy is a common way to perform gallbladder surgery. Most surgeons agree that when possible under safe conditions, gallbladder operations should be done laparoscopically.

Usually, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe procedure, however there are situations where an “open” procedure, involving an incision a few inches long usually just below the ribs on the right side of the abdomen, should be done instead. For example, prior surgery causing scarring inside the abdomen in the area where the gallbladder is located could move structures such as bile ducts and blood vessels from their usual anatomic locations, predisposing them to injury. When a surgeon does laparoscopic surgery in this circumstance, this may be malpractice making the surgeon liable for any injuries which may occur.

Another situation when laparoscopic surgery may be improper is when the gallbladder is very severely inflamed. This can also change the normal arrangements of bile ducts and blood vessels, increasing the risk of injury to these structures. Sever inflammation may only become apparent after laparoscopy has begun, in which case it may be necessary to stop the laparoscopy and convert to an open operation.

When injury to bile ducts and blood vessels occurs during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, it is usually the result of malpractice. Injury can be caused by improperly cutting, tying or clipping a bile duct or a blood vessel, or by “burning” a bile duct or blood vessel with a cautery device used to control bleeding during surgery. A bile duct injury can, in turn, injure the liver by causing a blockage of bile flow out of the liver, and can injure the pancreas by causing a blockage of the pancreatic duct carrying digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the intestine. Injury to an artery can result in death of varying portions of the liver. Bile duct and blood vessel injuries occurring with laparoscopic surgery are very serious, often requiring reconstructive operations and causing lifelong difficulties.

Bile duct and blood vessel injuries during laparoscopic cholecystectomy are usually described by surgeons who cause them, and by witnesses these doctors hire to testify on their behalf, as an “acceptable risk” of the procedure. These doctors will readily point out that “injuries to other structures” or something similar is in the consent form which the victim was asked to sign. Consent forms do not constitute a defense in these types of medical malpractice cases since in consenting to an operation, one never consents to a surgeon’s negligence.

In consultation with surgeons, radiologists and other physicians, the lawyers at the Sweeney Law Firm will analyze medical records and x-rays to determine whether there was medical malpractice on connection with your laparascopic cholecystectomy. If so, the Sweeney Law Firm may be able to recover money damages to compensate you and your family  for the medical expenses of  reconstructive operations, your rehabilitation expenses, lost income and other expenses, as well as damages for the emotional and physical pain and suffering that occur as a result of this type of malpractice.

Call the Sweeney Law Firm at 260-420-3137, or toll free at 1-866-793-6339. Get answers to your questions. Learn your legal rights. There is no cost or obligation for us to review your case.