OR Explosion During Hemorrhoidectomy Leads to Lawsuit
Woman who claims the gas she passed set her genitals on fire loses case against her surgeon.
Found on OutPatient Surgery
A woman who claims that she set fire to her genitals when she broke wind during hemorrhoidectomy lost the malpractice lawsuit that she filed against her Boston-area surgeon.
The incident happened in June 2005. The woman said that she suffered burns to her anal, vaginal and perineal areas, resulting in an infection, according to court documents. The case began routinely enough. Her skin was prepped for surgery with an alcohol-based antibacterial solution. The surgeon inserted a saline-soaked surgical sponge into her anal canal, placed a stitch with a chromic suture that was packed in alcohol and then used an electrosurgery pen to start dissecting her hemorrhoids. During the electrosurgery, the woman contends that she "passed flatus and a fire ignited near her perineum," according to court documents.
The fire was all the surgeon's fault, the lawsuit claimed. The woman alleged that the surgeon failed to prevent the fire when he used alcohol-based materials instead of non-alcohol based materials, failed to allow enough time for the materials to dry before proceeding, failed to adequately pack the patient's colon to prevent intestinal gasses from entering the surgical field and failed to provide the proper standard of care.
Completely untrue, argued the surgeon. The defendants denied liability, disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries and contended that the fire was unforeseeable, that his post-operative care of the plaintiff was diligent, and that the wound healed without infection or complications.
A jury didn't buy the woman's case. Much like this one, this case is still talked about in Boston, said one source. Anthony J. Dragone, MD, of Quincy (Mass.) Surgical Associates, declined to comment. The attorneys on both sides didn't return several calls seeking comment.