Our 63-year-old client underwent a pyloric sparing Whipple procedure to remove a tumor from his bile duct. No radiation or chemo therapy was necessary. Then, seven months later, a small abdominal wall nodule was found which was thought to have been seeded secondary to the extraction of a drain tube from the first procedure. Chemotherapy, followed by radiation therapy was recommended.
The radiation therapy occurred over a period of 39 days. About half way through the treatments it was discovered that one of the fields was in the wrong location, and it was shifted, and the dose of electron radiation was increased by almost double. As a result of the shifted field and increased dose of radiation, our client's stomach (which should not have received any radiation) was extensively damaged.
Our client was forced to endure multiple endoscopies with electrocautery and laser photoablation which were unsuccessful in healing the bleeding ulcers caused by the radiation. He also underwent hyperbaric oxygen treatments which were also unsuccessful in healing the ulcers. Finally, he underwent surgical repair of the stomach and abdominal wall:
- Partial gastrectomy and gastrojejunostomy, and excision of large radiation induced ulcer and fistula;
- Repair of ventral incisional hernia and placement of vacuum assisted closure dressing; and
- Abdominal wall reconstruction, with full thickness excision of radiated skin and anterolateral thigh free flap to abdominal wound.
The $500,000 settlement was from the radiation oncologist's malpractice insurance and from the insurance that covered the dosimetrists who were involved.