Date of Verdict:

March 9.

Court and Case No.:

C.P. Dauphin No. 2011 CV 8598 MM.

Judge:

William T. Tully.

Type of Action:

Medical malpractice.

Injuries:

Medical expenses, lost future wages.

Plaintiffs Counsel:

Jon R. Perry and Michael W. Calder, Rosen, Louik & Perry, Pittsburgh.

Plaintiffs Experts:

Scott A. Shikora and Guilherme Costa, medical; Donal F. Kirwan, damages; Varsha Desai, life care and medical.

Defense Counsel:

Maureen A. Gallagher and Sebastian J. Conforto, McQuaide Blasko, Hershey.

Defense Experts:

Michael Schweitzer and Tracy A. Jaffe, medical; Robin L. Karns, life care.

Comment:

A Dauphin County jury sided with the defendant in a medical malpractice case involving a patient’s internal hernia and subsequent bowel transplant.

Plaintiff Sheila Mayes underwent gastric bypass weight-loss surgery in 2008, performed by Dr. Timothy R. Shope, the plaintiffs’ pretrial statement said. Following the procedure, Mayes did well at first, but eventually began to experience abdominal pain after eating meals, the statement said. Shope performed a gallbladder removal surgery, but the pain returned not long after, the statement said.

According to the defense statement, Mayes underwent a test to assess for pancreatic disease in January 2009 and an endoscopy the next month, which did not return any diagnosis to explain the pain. Soon after the endoscopy, Mayes visited Shope and said she had no pain for more than two weeks, according to the defense.

Mayes went to the hospital in April 2009 for an emergency, where an X-ray revealed a small partial bowel obstruction, the plaintiffs’ statement said, but she was discharged to her home. The next day, the defense said, her X-ray was determined to show findings consistent with bowel obstruction, and the results were sent to the emergency room doctor and Dr. Frank Guillard.

According to the defense statement, Mayes visited Guillard in July 2009 and did not discuss the emergency visit. The defense said Shope was not aware of the April emergency visit until the lawsuit was filed, and when Mayes saw Shope in August 2009, her main interest was the surgical removal of excess skin that resulted from her weight loss.

Mayes went to the hospital emergency department again in September 2009, the plaintiff said, for abdominal pain, where she was diagnosed with an internal hernia and a small bowel obstruction. She underwent two surgeries in attempts to repair her bowel, the statement said, but she still required a resection of her entire small intestine. She was later evaluated for small bowel transplant, and underwent a transplant operation in February 2010.

Mayes and her husband, Stacey Mayes, alleged that Shope deviated from the accepted standard of care by failing to diagnose and correct the internal hernia. The plaintiffs said the doctor’s negligence caused missed time from work, lost enjoyment of life, continued medical issues and a shortened life expectancy. Stacey Mayes also asserted a claim for loss of consortium. They demanded $4 million.

According to a pretrial statement from the defense, Shope disputed the allegations of negligence, as well as the calculation of the cost of medical care by the plaintiffs’ expert, a life care planner.

The trial was six days, plaintiffs counsel Jon R. Perry said. The plaintiffs have filed post-trial motions moving for mistrials, he said.

Lizzy McLellan can be contacted at 215-557-2493 or at lmclellan@alm.com. Follow her on Twitter @LizzyMcLellTLI. •