Surgical Complication Malpractice

Surgical Complication Malpractice

February 29, 2024

We were recently successful in settling a medical malpractice case on behalf of 66-year-old woman from Upper St. Clair, Pittsburgh. The case involved negligent post-operative care after lumbar back surgery. The physician performed back surgery on our client and, to control fluid accumulation at the operative site, the physician inserted a Jackson Pratt (JP) drain. A JP drain allows fluid to drain from the patient’s body. There are different settings that the JP drain can be set on to control the force of suction used to drain the fluid. One method is to use “gravity suction” meaning that gravity only is used to create atmospheric force that results in draining the fluid from the patient’s body. The other type of suction is “bulb suction.” Bulb suction is more aggressive and creates a negative pressure gradient where as gravity drainage is mild and provides for fluid drainage due to the general pressure differential between intra-abdominal and atmospheric (room) pressure. 

A nurse’s aide ignored and violated the physician’s order and applied pressurized bulb suction to the JP drain. The application of pressurized suction caused a cerebral spinal fluid leak to occur. By violating the physician’s order and applying pressurized bulb suction, the nurse’s aide caused a spinal fluid leak causing the patient to suffer a significant preventable spinal nerve injury resulting in, among other things, urinary incontinence and leg impairment, both of which were permanent. 

We were able to demonstrate that the nurse’s aide was negligent and should not have applied pressurized bulb suction to the JP drain. The case was vigorously defended. The surgeon indicated that it wouldn’t have been against the standard of care to apply bulb suction, but our medical expert convincingly argued that it was, indeed, a violation of the standard of care for the aide to apply bulb suction and the application of bulb suction directly caused the nerve injury resulting in urinary incontinence and leg impairment. Within weeks of the scheduled trial, we were able to convince the hospital to settle the case on terms that were favorable to our client.


He’s Brilliant.
Jason Matzus is a Lawyer —
You Thank God is on Your Side.



Case Results

Medical Malpractice
Confidential Settlement
Birth Injury
Confidential Settlement
Surgical Error
Confidential Settlement