RETRACTOR PLACEMENT CAUSES NERVE INJURY

The patient, a 58 y/o male, was admitted to the hospital with severe diverticulitis. A general surgeon performed an exploratory laparotomy, lysis of adhesions, takedown of the sigmoid flexure with sigmoid and partial left colectomy withdescending colorectostomy and appendectomy. A Bookwalter retractor was used during the surgery. Almost immediately after the surgery the patient experienced right leg weakness which was eventually diagnosed as a lumbar plexopathy with femoral and obdurator distributions with axonal degeneration.

Is this an injury which usually does not happen absent a departure from accepted standards of care?

MEDQUEST EXPERT RESPONSES

Most definitely malpractice – totally avoidable. Dr. ML – General Surgeon

Care was not take to place the retractor in a position that avoided the lumbar roots. Dr. JF – General Surgeon

Creation of the injury is a deviation from the standard of care. Dr. DD – General Surgeon