Laminectomy Perforates Stomach

Case Overview

My client underwent a minimally invasive surgery according to the surgeon’s report. He had a laminectomy at L4 with K wires placed into the pedicles bilaterally at L4 and L5. Two days later he had terrible abdominal pain and CT scan showed free intraabdominal air. Exploratory laparoscopy was performed and was converted to an open laparotomy. Bubbles were seen coming from a pinpoint microperforation in the anterior body of the stomach. Graham patch repair was performed. My client has a significant vertical scar on his abdomen and has had health issues and pain since this happened.

1) Should perforation at that location have occurred?
2) Is this a risk of the surgery?
3) Any other comments would be helpful to decide if we should or should not go forward with this matter.

medQuest Expert Opinions:
However, it appears to me that a perforation of the stomach should be a standard of care violation.
Dr SB – Neurosurgeon

This is a common kind of case, namely, an injury anterior to the spine during a lumbar surgery. It can be the aorta, intestine… I would be glad to review the case. These generally have merit from the plaintiff’s standpoint.
Dr SS – Neurosurgeon

This is a risk of surgery. Actually, people would be surprised how often the k-wire is inadvertently advanced too far. I bet that in most cases, nothing important is punctured and there is no consequence. I know that someone will criticize this by saying that it HAS to be malpractice to allow a surgical instrument to get out of control and lead to an injury; but I cannot in good conscience support a case like that.
Dr JH – Neurosurgeon