Miami County woman wins $10.3M verdict after surgery goes wrong

Miami County Courthouse

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Miami County Courthouse

A Miami County woman won a more than $10.3 million judgment from a medical device manufacturer this week after an error in surgery required the removal of most of her colon.

A Miami County Common Pleas Court jury reached the verdict Tuesday against Cincinnati-based Ethicon Endosurgery Inc. after a nine-day trial.

A lawsuit was filed in November 2018 on behalf of Nikki Simon, 53, of Covington, nearly two years after her December 2016 segmental colon resection by surgeon Patrick Larreategui, D.O., to remove a benign polyp at Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, according to court records and a release from malpractice law firm Crandall & Pera LLC, which represented Simon and her husband.

The surgeon used Ethicon’s Contour Curved Cutter Stapler designed to cut through the colon while at the same time creating staple lines on either side of the incision to prevent intestinal contents from leaking into her system. The surgery was to remove part of the colon where the polyp was and to reconnect the intestines, according to the lawsuit and release.

The suit claimed the stapler cut but did not staple, which ultimately led the surgeon to remove Simon’s sigmoid and transverse colon. Now, she must empty her colostomy bag at least every three hours, court records show.

“Nikki will never have a full night’s sleep again,” her attorney Marc Pera told the jury, according to the release. “She is a prisoner to this bag. She will never enjoy another full night of sleep or have the freedom to eat, socialize, travel or do anything in the way she was able before her surgery. … Her freedom has been stolen from her.”

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