Surgeon ordered to pay $9.4 million after failing to properly treat a patient’s post-surgery complications.
A Lawrence Superior Court jury has awarded Marcos Aguirre $9.4 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit he filed accusing a surgeon of failing to properly treat his post-surgery complications, resulting in “severe and permanent personal injuries.” Aguirre sued Jonathan Gordon, who treated him at Lawrence General Hospital, for medical malpractice and negligence over the matter.
Aguirre was represented by Boston-based law firm Lubin & Meyer, which presented proof that Gordon failed to properly treat him for an abdominal infection, resulting in a post-operative intestinal leak in 2013. Gordon “failed to properly recognize and appreciate the signs and symptoms of an anastomotic leak and advanced sepsis,” and “failed to inform Mr. Aguirre that his post-surgical condition may be indicative of an anastomotic leak,” according to court documents. Aguirre required seven additional surgeries, eighteen hospitalizations, and wore a colostomy bag for more than a year.
A total $7.5 million was ordered to Marcos Aguirre for pain, suffering, and loss of companionship, and $1.9 million was awarded to his wife, Janet Aguirre, for loss of consortium damages. Records indicate Gordon has made two prior malpractice payments, in 2008 and 1999, yet his license is still active, and he has been practicing for more than twenty years. Gordon is currently licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. His expertise is listed as a general surgeon.
“The jury spoke on his behalf,” said Nick Cappiello, one of Aguirre’s attorneys. “Although it cannot turn back the clock on all he’s gone through, this verdict does provide him some justice.”
Gordon, throughout the trial, maintained he provided care that was “at all times proper and complied with the applicable standard of care for the average qualified general surgeon.” He maintained that nothing he did “or allegedly failed to do caused or contributed to any injury to Marcos Aguirre.” However, the jury agreed that the oversight could have cost the patient his life.
Another patient, 26-year-old John Paul McCloskey, was not lucky enough to live to tell his story. He died on November 22, 2016, after he did not get an operation for a bowel obstruction was not performed in a timely manner, according to court records. His bowel was perforated causing septic shock which spread to his brain. The matter ultimately caused multi-organ failure.
McCloskey received care at Letterkenny University Hospital. In a letter of apology written to McCloskey’s family concerning the matter and read to the court the General Manager of Letterkenny University Hospital, Sean Murphy, stated, “I wish to apologize unreservedly that the standard of care delivered to John Paul during his admission at our hospital was not to the standard that we believe would be appropriate. I fully recognize that nothing that I nor the team here at Letterkenny University Hospital can say, can in any way make up for the tragic loss which you have experienced and there is a huge regret with the team here that John Paul did not receive better more organized care during his time with us.”
McCloskey family and their attorneys, Hugh O Keeffe SC with Doireann O’Mahony BL, told the High Court it was their case that “John Paul who had been admitted to A&E at the Letterkenny hospital on October 11, 2016, with abdominal pain should have been operated on by October 19 and this would have saved his life.”
Thus, if bowel complications are not caught by surgeons in a timely manner, they could easily be fatal.