Home E-Weekly August 29, 2017

"Surgeon in a Hurry" Accused of Rupturing Woman's Spleen During Colonoscopy

Published: August 28, 2017

ROBIN BARADARIAN, MD Defense experts tacitly agreed that excessive force was likely to blame.

A gastroenterologist accused of severely injuring a female patient by using excessive force while allegedly hurriedly performing a colonoscopy committed medical malpractice, according to a New York jury, which awarded the woman $1.27 million.

Robin Baradarian, MD, was accused of trying to force a colonoscope through the patient's splenic flexure. Doing so allegedly caused her spleen to detach from the splenocolic ligament, rupture and ultimately hemorrhage. The patient later collapsed at her home, and when emergency surgery to try to stop the hemorrhaging failed, surgeons removed her spleen.

Lawyers for the patient, who was 63 at the time, presented a recent CT-scan of the woman's abdomen in court, which, they said, showed they her anatomy included some unusually sharp angles that Dr. Baradarian should have recognized and taken greater care to avoid injuring.

The patient, who had previously worked in a hospital, claimed that she's now permanently at increased risk for infection, and that she was initially afraid to leave her home for fear of getting sick. Psychotherapy and medication have helped, she says, but she still lives in fear. She retired early after the incident.

Dr. Baradarian and co-defendant Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy claimed that injuries to surrounding organs are a known risk of colonoscopies, especially when a patient has a high-riding splenic flexure, which the patient had. But neither of 2 defense experts could suggest evidence that the patient's rupture was caused by something other than excessive force.

Dr. Baradarian did not respond to requests for comment.

Jim Burger

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