Fox Chase Cancer Center faces medical malpractice claim over alleged injuries from hernia surgery

By Jon Campisi | Jun 11, 2012

A Montgomery County couple is suing Fox Case Cancer Center and one of its physicians

for injuries the wife allegedly sustained two summers ago after undergoing hernia surgery at the medical facility.

Philadelphia attorney Thomas R. Hurd, of the firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, filed the medical malpractice complaint June 6 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Collegeville, Pa. residents Karen and John Crane.

In addition to the hospital, surgeon Andrew A. Gumbs is named as a defendant in the suit.

According to the complaint, Karen Crane first underwent surgery at Fox Chase Cancer back on Aug. 5, 2010, for ventral hernia repair.

The procedure was performed by defendant Gumbs.

Five days after the operation, Crane was taken to Fox Chase’s emergency room after experiencing severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, the lawsuit states.

A CT scan revealed that Krane had a collection of fluid and air at the hernia repair site. She also had prominent bowel wall thickening, the suit states.

On Aug. 11, 2010, Gumbs performed an exploratory laparotomy on Crane that revealed a large perforation of her sigmoid colon and stool leakage, according to the complaint.

During surgery, Gumbs removed the hernia repair mesh from the prior surgery, he performed a sigmoid resection, and he created an ileostomy and performed an abdominal washout.

While she was recovering from the second surgery, Crane developed a wound infection that required the removal of her skin staples and the placement of a wound vac, the suit states.

At the end of the month, Crane went back to Gumbs with complaints of irritated skin and wound leakage.

Then, in late September of that year, Crane had to undergo ileostomy takedown surgery at Fox Chase. That, too, was performed by defendant Gumbs.

In late November 2010, Crane returned to Fox Chase with complaints of severe abdominal pain; she was given antibiotics to treat her issues.

Close to a year later, on Sept. 30, 2011, Crane underwent surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for recurrent ventral hernia repair, according to the complaint.

During that procedure, doctors discovered an abscess in the lower part of her previous wound. They also discovered a full thickness bowel defect.

During that procedure, surgeons had to resect about 10 centimeters of Crane’s bowel.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence for careless and improper use of an electrothermal machine, which resulted in burning and perforation of the sigmoid colon; failure to examine and monitor Karen Crane for signs of infection following the initial surgery; and failing to identify and treat in a timely manner the perforated colon, which resulted in the follow surgeries.

As a result of the defendants’ negligence, Crane suffered physical pain and mental anguish, she incurred significant medical expenses, she was unable to work and carry out her usual activities and she suffered a loss of life’s enjoyment, the suit claims.

The lawsuit contains negligence and battery counts against the defendants.

Crane seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest and costs.


The case ID number is 120600623. 

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