The Nathan Case
Ruth Nathan was forty-one (41) years old and went to see her doctor, Dr. Daniel Faraday, complaining of abdominal pain. He told her that she needed laparoscopic surgery on her abdomen.
In the past, Dr. Faraday had already performed seven (7) abdominal laparoscopic surgical procedures upon Ms. Nathan, some of which it was uncertain if they were necessary.
But, Ms. Nathan complaints of severe abdominal pain were said by Dr. Faraday to be remedied only by another surgery, and she was admitted by Dr. Faraday to the hospital for the principle diagnosis of pelvic adhesions.
Dr. Faraday performed another laparoscopic procedure on Ms. Nathan. Post-surgery, Ms. Nathan was given multiple pain medications by a nurse for her pain. The nurse informed Dr. Faraday of Ms. Nathan’s severe pain, but rather than coming in to the hospital to examine Ms. Nathan, Dr. Faraday said her left it up to Ms. Nathan to decide whether or not she wanted to stay in the hospital or go home with a prescription for pain medication. Dr. Faraday did not tell the nurse to admit the patient, and allowed Ms. Nathan to be discharged with simply a prescription for pain medication.
Ms. Nathan was at home, unfortunately, the next day she passed away due to a perforated distal ileum; perforated bowel which happened during the surgery.
A lawsuit was filed in Blair County, Pennsylvania due to Dr. Faraday’s excessive surgeries. The laparoscopic procedure which was the subject of the lawsuit was the eighth (8) abdominal laparoscopic surgery performed on Ms. Nathan. Each laparoscopic procedure causes surgical adhesions (scars), which impedes the visibility for the surgeon. Despite those seven previous surgeries, Dr. Faraday negligently elected to do a closed laparoscopic procedure, which put Ms. Nathan at a higher risk for bowel perforation.
When the bowel perforation did occur, Dr. Faraday negligently failed to appreciate that risk, and despite the high likelihood of it occurring after the fact that she had numerous pervious laparoscopic surgeries.
Dr. Faraday defended the case based on the fact that the surgery was needed, and the complaints were consistent with post-surgical care. However, the case settled before trial for a substantial amount.