Madison County jury reaches defense verdict in patient’s suit alleging lacerated bladder

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 12, 2019

A Madison County jury returned a verdict in favor of St. Anthony’s Medical Center and a physician in a medical malpractice suit alleging a patient’s bladder was lacerated during a laproscopy procedure.

Jurors reached the defense verdict on Feb. 5 in Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs’ courtroom.

The case had previously been assigned to Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian, who has been on leave for unspecified reasons since Labor Day. The case was officially reassigned to Stobbs on Dec. 3.

Stobbs also presides over the asbestos docket, which has thousands of cases pending.


Short  

Plaintiffs Tonya and Steven Monroe were represented by Keith Short and Jack Daugherty of Short & Daugherty PC in Alton.

Defendant St. Anthony’s Health Center was represented by Jeffrey Glass and Madelyn Lamb of Hinshaw & Culbertson.

Defendants Dr. Sara Cannon and Illini Medical Associates were represented by Timothy Richards and Adam Braundmeier of Neville Richards & Wuller in Belleville.

Cannon and Illini filed a motion for a directed verdict at the close of evidence on Feb. 4, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the defendants deviated from the standard of care or that Cannon caused harm or ill-being due to negligence.

The defendants note that the patient's only criticism against Cannon’s standard of care was her decision not to use dye during the procedure.

However, the defendants argue Cannon testified that she did not have any difficulty seeing the adhesions between the patient’s bladder and uterus.

“As such, Dr. [Henry] Prince’s ‘dye’ opinion is without basis, not ‘probative’ and cannot be considered in evaluating whether plaintiffs have made a submissible standard of care case against Dr. Cannon and her group,” the motion stated.

St. Anthony’s Health Center also filed a motion for a directed verdict at the close of evidence, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the defendant’s nurses deviated from the applicable standard of care and that an alleged deviation caused Monroe’s injuries.

Prince, who was the plaintiff’s expert witness, was critical of the hospital’s nurses for giving Monroe the wrong amount of fluids following the procedure and failing to inform Cannon of the discrepancy, which would have prevented her from discharging the patient. However, he did not testify that the delay in diagnosis and treatment due to Monroe’s discharge caused the injury at issue.

The Monroes filed their four-count complaint on April 28, 2011 against Cannon, St. Anthony’s Health Center and Illini Medical Associates.

They later filed a third amended complaint on July 17, 2017.

According to the complaint, Tonya Monroe alleges she was admitted to St. Anthony’s Health Center in Alton on May 1, 2009 due to pelvic pain. She alleges Cannon performed a diagnostic lacroscopy, lysis of adhesions and cauterization of endometriosis implants.

However, Monroe claims she previously was diagnosed with ovarian syndrome in 2002, birthed a child via cesarean section in 2006 and had her gallbladder removed, causing her “to be vulnerable to substantially increased risk of surgical injury.”

Monroe was diagnosed with pelvic pain, pelvic adhesions and endometriosis after the operations.

Following the procedures, Monroe claims her bladder was lacerated, torn, damaged, devascularized and otherwise compromised. She alleges Cannon took no steps to test the integrity of her bladder.

During recovery, Monroe complained of pain and nausea. She also complained that she could not urinate and required more than one catheterization.

Cannon allegedly ordered fluids to be infused in the plaintiff at 150 milliliters per hour. However, Monroe claims the nurses at St. Anthony’s allegedly infused fluids at a rate of 300 milliliters per hour, causing her bladder to inflate to a capacity beyond that of a normal human bladder capacity. As a result, Monroe’s bladder allegedly leaked urine into her pelvic cavity, abdomen and body, causing infection, tissue damage, pain and disfigurement.

Monroe had to undergo additional surgeries to correct the damage.

The plaintiff claims Cannon’s decision to operate on her bladder adhesion was a deviation from the standard of care as she did not complain of any urinary symptoms.

Monroe alleges the defendants failed to warn her of her increased risk of bladder lacerations, failed to test the integrity of her bladder following the procedure, failed to timely diagnose the bladder laceration, negligently caused too much fluid to be infused and failed to adequately chart their care of the plaintiff.

As a result, Monroe claims she has suffered permanent disfigurement, will continue to suffer loss of a normal life, will never again be able to give birth, will continue to be prevented from a normal, intimate sexual relationship with her husband. She also claims she suffers from severe emotional and mental anguish, will continue to lose income and will require necessary future medical treatment.

The plaintiff also alleges she has a restricted number of physicians willing to accept her as a patient because she is now considered high-risk.

According to a statement of the case filed Jan. 10, the defendants deny they were negligent, deny any claimed act or omission on their part was the proximate cause of any of the alleged damages and deny that the plaintiffs sustained damages to the extend alleged.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 11-L-403

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Hinshaw and Culbertson Madison County Circuit Court Neville, Richards & Wuller

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