Surgeon Found Negligent for Performing Unneeded Operation; Jury Awards Pennsylvania Woman $625,000
In April 2013, Natisha Almeida went to the Doylestown Women’s Health Center, located in Doylestown Pennsylvania, because she was feeling pressure in her pelvis. Based on an ultrasound by radiologist, Dr. Paul Adelizzi, it was determined that Almeida had a mass in her pelvic region that should be removed. After a CT scan was performed, Dr. Mark Silidker confirmed that he also saw the mass. But both Adelizzi and Silidker expressed some doubt and recommended further testing. However, Dr. Tuan A. Le, Almeida’s surgeon, allegedly performed the pelvic surgery without any additional tests. This action led to Almeida filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Her case was recently tried before a jury, resulting in an award of $625,000.
Based on the lawsuit filed in a Pennsylvania federal court, when Almeida, now 31, was operated on Le discovered that there was no mass at all, which Dr. Le had believed was the size of a “potato.” Almeida alleged that due to the unnecessary surgery she has lost the ability to have a child. The lawsuit also claims that the surgery, performed on May 10, 2013, left permanent scarring and caused pelvic adhesive disease, which eventually required Almeida to have her fallopian tube removed.
The Pennsylvania jury that found Dr. Le negligent did dismiss the charges against Adelizzi and Silidker because they both recommended further testing to verify their conclusions. Larry Caputo, a doctor and an expert witness for the plaintiff, said that he believed the doctors were looking at the anterior wall of air in her bowel. Another opinion is that they were looking at a shadow. Dr. Le wrote in his report after the operation that there was no sign of a mass and no damage in Almeida’s ovaries, or her fallopian tubes.
“I was very impressed by how rapt the jury was and how attentive they were to the evidence from both sides,” said one of the lawyers representing Almeida. “They were really trying to do the right thing and figure this out. I said in my closing argument that regardless of the outcome of the case, I know my client received a fair trial given how attentive the jury was.”
Dr. Le reportedly offered Almeida $100,000 to settle the lawsuit, but when she asked for $400,000 he declined. A federal judge in Pennsylvania upheld the verdict of $625,000, saying that the damages were, “reasonable and bears a rational relationship to the evidence presented at trial.”