Not Guilty Achieved in Favor of L&G Law Group ‘s Client in Colonoscopy Case

L&G Law Group partners Mark J. Smith and Scott R. Wolfe attained a Not Guilty verdict in favor of their client, a gastroenterologist, in Cook County, Illinois. The plaintiff, a 50-year-old male, presented to the defendant gastroenterologist for his initial screening colonoscopy. Defendant located a pre-cancerous polyp that he removed and estimated the location as the distal transverse colon. He also found a likely cancerous 1.2 cm sessile polyp which he could not remove and estimated its location at 30 cm from the anal verge, likely in the sigmoid colon. The defendant tattooed the area to make finding the very small lesion easier. Surgery for removal of the cancer was arranged. Based on the colonoscopy report and location estimates, he believed the cancer was in the sigmoid colon. However, the surgeon could not find the tattoo so he removed the patient’s entire sigmoid colon. Pathology revealed the tissue removed contained no tattoo and no cancer. A repeat colonoscopy at another institution revealed the tattoo and the cancer remained in the patient and was likely in the distal transverse colon. The second surgeon performed a completion colectomy, removing the entire remainder of the plaintiff’s colon. Had the sigmoid colon not been previously removed, the second surgeon may have salvaged the sigmoid. If the sigmoid could have been salvaged Plaintiff would likely have better control of bowel movements. Plaintiff now has 20 plus bouts of diarrhea or loose stools per day with frequent incontinence, has never returned to work, cannot engage in any normal activities or socializing and cannot sleep normally as he wakes frequently due to loose stools. Plaintiff alleged Defendant negligently described the location of the two lesions found on colonoscopy. Specifically that the cancer tattooed was actually in the transverse colon and the polyp removed was in the sigmoid colon. Plaintiff claimed the incorrectly described lesions caused an unnecessary operation and unnecessary removal of undiseased tissues that should have been saved. Plaintiff then had to undergo a second operation to remove the cancer. Plaintiff is now left with so little colon he cannot control his loose stools whereas if he had the sigmoid in tact, he would likely have well formed stool and could work and have a normal life.

Mark and Scott argued the colonoscopy was performed well. During a colonoscopy distance and locations are mere estimates. They argued the defendant utilized reasonable estimates and then went above and beyond the standard of care by tattooing the area. All experts, including plaintiff’s retained expert agreed the tattoo should have made locating the cancer 100% accurate, regardless of the verbal description in the report. Defendants further argued a complete colectomy should have been done anyway due to the patient’s history of cancer, family history of colon polyps and young age. Defendants also denied plaintiff was as severely disabled as claimed and argued he should be able to work.

Plaintiff asked for $2.9 Million against L&G Law Group ‘s client. The jury found in Mark & Scott’s favor in under two hours.

For more details about this case or any questions regarding L&G Law Group ’s professional malpractice experience, please contact Scott Wolfe at