Doctor sued over gall bladder operation

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 3, 2005, 6:09am

Leigh Ann Monk of St. Louis filed a medical malpractice suit against Thomas Vitale, M.D. in St. Clair County Circuit Court alleging he attempted to remove her gall bladder while it was still connected to the bile duct.

Represented by Patrick Chassaing and Joe Bauer of St. Louis, Monk is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 plus all costs of the suit.

Monk claims that on March 30, 2003, while undergoing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in Washington County, Dr. Vitale was negligent in the following ways:

  • failed to identify the gallbladder’s cystic duct

  • failed to identify and protect the common bile duct

  • misidentified the common bile duct as the cystic duct; and

  • tied off the common bile duct at two points and then transected the common bile duct and attempted to remove her gall bladder while it was still connected to the superior portion of the common bile duct and the common hepatic duct.

    Monk claims due to Dr. Vitale’s negligence she has sustained serious and permanent injury to her common bile duct.

    According to the suit, Monk "was aroused from general anesthesia and transported to Missouri and then subjected to a second induction of general anesthesia and laparoscopy and excision of her gallbladder via severance of the cystic duct."

    She states that she has had to undergo repeated stent implantations to re-establish the viability of her common bile duct.

    Monk also claims she is at an increased risk to develop pancreatitis, diabetes, digestive dysfunction, including chronic diarrhea and chronic cholangitis, liver dysfunction, liver failure, chronic back pain, fatigue and depression.

    05 L 115 (20th Circuit)

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