A jury in Staten Island, N.Y., awarded $3.9 million to a man who experienced complications following vascular surgery. Nearly five years before, the man was diagnosed with a condition known as “arcuate ligament syndrome,” in which a ligament connected to the diaphragm compresses the celiac artery, which provides blood to the stomach, intestines, and other organs. In this patient, the condition led to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dramatic weight loss.
The man went in for surgery one month after being diagnosed but remained in severe discomfort afterward. A second operation was performed two months later. However, the scar tissue from the original surgery was so dense the surgeon could not get access to the celiac artery, and veins from the man’s legs had to be grafted for a bypass. This provided temporary relief, but the bypass graft eventually failed, and the patient had to undergo three more operations.
The patient now suffers from incisional hernias at the surgery site, as well as abdominal weakness and urinary tract problems. He walks with a cane because of nerve damage secondary to the vein removal from his legs. Testimony at the malpractice trial revealed that the man also has developed an eating disorder and suffers from osteoporosis.