Woman files suit against deceased Mid-County doctor for allegedly botching gallbladder surgery

David Yates Mar. 5, 2008, 7:47am

Angela Broussard, 22, suffered from nausea and stomach cramps after having a cholecystectomy performed at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas last year.

Now, Broussard has filed suit against the estate of Dr. Robert Phelps, the late surgeon who she claims botched her surgery by injuring her common bile duct.

Broussard's suit was filed on March 4 in the Jefferson County District Court.

An online medical dictionary says laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor removes a patient's gallbladder with the aid of a laparoscope (a small camera that can be inserted into the abdomen) and other surgical tools through four small incisions.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Jan. 30, 2007, Broussard had the surgery performed. She claims during the surgery Dr. Phelps deviated from the standard of care within a reasonable degree of medical certainty by injuring her common bile duct.

"This caused the patient to have nausea, increased abdominal pain with 5 liters of ascitic fluid causing inflammation of her peritoneal cavity with elevated white blood cell count," the suit said.

"Had Defendant � done a cholangiogram at the same time of the surgery, the bile leak would have been detected and repaired in the same surgery. The patient was readmitted for vomiting, weakness, not eating and pain on Feb. 4, 2007."

The suit continues by saying Broussard's injuries were caused by the following acts of negligence committed by Dr. Phelps:

  • Improper surgical/medical technique causing the bile duct to be punctured during Plaintiff's laparoscopic cholecystectomy;
  • Failing to follow-up after the puncture of the bile duct by not performing cholangiogram or CAT scan in a timely manner;
  • Causing the Plaintiff psychological impact of having to undergo a second surgery at St. Luke's Episcopal Health System;
  • And in failing to implement a system to perform a safe laparoscopic cholecystectomy to prevent situations of neglect or malpractice, which resulted in actual serious harm to Plaintiff.

    "Defendant failed to exercise ordinary care and that failure has proximately caused serious and grievous injuries to the Plaintiff," the suit said. "Additionally, as a direct result of inadequate medical and nursing care by the Defendant, the Plaintiff was subjected to physical, mental and emotional neglect as part of the treatment provided by the Defendant."

    Broussard is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by Provost Umphrey attorney Mark Sparks.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District.

    Case No. D181-386

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