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Palmer | Lopez Motto

Prostate Surgery Results In Medical Malpractice Lawsuit


A new trial is set to begin concerning what the plaintiff claims was a botched prostate surgery. The doctor was performing a robot-assisted prostatectomy (removal of the prostate). According to the plaintiff, he suffered a rectal tear during the surgery which was not properly repaired at the time. This resulted in a rectourethral fistula (an opening between the rectum and urethra) which required subsequent surgeries and caused a host of related complications concerning his genitals.

Elements of negligence 

The plaintiff contends that the doctor did not have the specialized knowledge required to repair the tear. As a urologist, the plaintiff contends that a general surgeon or specialist should have been called in to repair the damage done by the surgeon. This never happened. Instead, the tear was improperly treated and the patient suffered serious complications that could have been avoided.

The defense 

The defense contends that rectal tears are possible even when the surgery is properly performed. They say their client was not negligent and the wound was properly treated. The jury will be required to determine whose argument is the most credible. However, the mere presence of a bad outcome does not necessarily equate to medical malpractice.

To prove medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s actions, when compared to industry standards, were lacking. That means that another doctor operating on a similar patient would likely not have made the same mistake. So the mistake must be extraordinary.

In cases of surgical negligence, the mere presence of a rip or tear in the body is not enough. Mistakes happen. However, doctors are expected to appropriately repair those mistakes to avoid complications. In this regard, it was the failure to correctly repair the damage that is the cause of the medical malpractice lawsuit, not the mistake made in tearing the rectum.


This case boils down to whether or not you believe that a rectal tear is a common complication of a prostatectomy. Fortunately, there are statistics kept by medical professionals concerning surgical complications. Even if rectal tearing is common in these procedures, the defense will still need to establish that their client’s actions met or exceeded the prevailing standard of care once the tear was caught. Since the rectal tear did not heal properly and resulted in complications, one might assume that the doctor’s breached the prevailing standard of care, since rectal tears are common in this type of surgical procedure (according to the defense). So the defense is focusing on the plaintiff’s claim that rectal tears are uncommon. If the defense can show otherwise, the plaintiff could be in trouble. Juries don’t like litigants who overstate their arguments. Nonetheless, the doctor’s actions will be compared to the prevailing course of treatment, and if the doctor fails in that regard, the plaintiff will win.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured due to the negligent practice of medicine, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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