Case details

G-tube misplacement occurred without any negligence: doctor





Result type

Not present

cognition, impairment, mental, psychological
On Aug. 17, 2012, plaintiff Frank Bello, 87, went to Community Memorial Hospital, in Ventura, to have a new gastrostomy tube (G-tube) inserted into his abdomen because the existing G-tube had come out. The procedure was performed by Dr. Anthony Hernandez in the Emergency Department, and Bello was released home the same day. However, Bello discovered the G-tube wasn’t working properly later that day and he returned to the Emergency Department, where it was discovered the G-tube was misplaced underneath the stomach. A surgical consultation was subsequently requested from Dr. Jaime Arana, and Bello was scheduled for exploratory surgery (a laparotomy) the following day. During the laparotomy, performed by Arana, no perforations were seen and no foreign material was found in the peritoneum. Arana then created a new tract for the G-tube and closed up the original tract. Bello sued Hernandez, alleging that the defendant’s error in replacing the G-tube led to the laparotomy and new G-tube insertion, as well as subsequent complications. Bello also alleged that Hernandez’s error constituted medical malpractice. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Hernandez’s actions were negligent and that Hernandez should have performed an X-ray following the original G-tube insertion to verify its placement. Defense counsel argued that the misplacement of the G-tube during the original procedure occurred absent of any negligence. Counsel further argued that an X-ray to verify the placement of the G-tube was not necessary under the medical standard of care., It was discovered that the G-tube was misplaced underneath Bello’s stomach. As a result, a laparotomy was performed the following day, during which no perforations were seen and no foreign material was found in the peritoneum. A new tract for the G-tube was then created and the original tract was closed up. Bello claimed that he never recovered from the laparotomy, as he was in good shape for his age prior to the incident. He alleged that he now deals with mobility problems and is confined to a wheelchair. He also alleged that he can no longer eat solid foods like he previously could and is only fed through the G-tube. In addition, he alleged that he suffers from cognitive impairments, resulting in difficulty communicating and taking care of himself. Thus, Bello claimed all of his ongoing issues were trauma-induced from the misplaced G-tube and laparotomy. Bello claimed he now requires 24-hour attendant care to assist in his everyday living. He further claimed he was planning to return to work as a window shop owner, but can no longer do so due to his condition. Thus, Bello sought recovery of $1.3 million in total damages, including $110,000 per year in lost earnings for four years, and unspecified amount for his caregiver costs and general damages. Defense counsel contended that Bello was in declining health for years and that Bellow had not worked since January 2012 due to multiple health issues and hospital admissions. In addition, counsel contended that Bello, as an 87-year-old man with numerous pre-existing health-related problems, was unlikely to return to work or independent living as Bello alleged.
Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case