Inflicted with lung cancer, Archie Perkins Jr. underwent surgery last July only to die on the operating table.

Perkins' family claims the attending surgeon, Dr. Stephen LaMendola, botched "a relatively simple procedure" and "contributed to Perkins death." They filed suit against Dr. LaMendola on March 19 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the suit filed by Lillie and Archie Perkins III, on July 7, 2007, the late Perkins went to Dr. LeMendola to have cancer surgically removed from his lung; "however, due to Defendant's negligence, Mr. Perkins suffered from complications during the surgery and died on the operating table."

"Defendant had a legal duty to provide the medical care to Archie Perkins Jr., which physicians of ordinary prudence would have provided under the same or similar circumstances," the suit said.

Perkins' family alleges Dr. LaMendola failed to use an adequate technique to prevent hemorrhaging "during a relatively simple procedure."

"By using the clamp technique, Dr. LaMendola failed to control the blood vessels and air passages in the segment resected," the suit said. "This allowed bleeding from blood vessels to enter the airway causing suffocation and death."

To cement their allegations, the plaintiffs included the medical opinion of M.D. Brian Camazine, who said, "In summary, it is clear that Dr. LaMendola was negligent and that this negligence was the proximate cause, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, of the death of Mr. Perkins."

The suit lists the following acts of negligence allegedly committed by Dr. LaMendola:

  • Failing to use an adequate technique which would prevent hemorrhage during a relatively simple procedure. Using the clamp technique, Dr. LaMendola failed to control the blood vessels and air passages in the segment resected. This allowed bleeding from blood vessels to enter the airway causing suffocation and death.
  • Failing to reapply the clamps when bleeding became apparent. This would have temporarily controlled the parenchymal bleeding and allowed him time to control the bleeding from the cut lung.
  • And failing to control the hemorrhage at the hilum when it occurred. When it apparent that there was bleeding in the lung, Dr. LaMendola failed to clamp the hilar vessels which would have temporarily controlled the parenchymal bleeding and allowed him time to control the bleeding from the cut lung.

    The plaintiffs are seeking to recover wrongful death damages for past and future loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, pecuniary loss including loss for care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, pecuniary contributions and loss of inheritance.

    The plaintiffs are represented by Trenton Bond, attorney for the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.

    Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

    Case No. B181-458

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