Man Claims Surgeon Misplaced Staples
By Gerri Elder
Ronald Watkins, 64, underwent surgery to remove a rectal polyp on September 8, 2004. Following the surgery, Watkins suffered numerous health problems which required additional surgeries. He alleges that these problems were all a result of the initial surgery.
In 2007, Watkins and his wife Brenda filed a personal injury lawsuit against Foris Surgical Group, alleging that during the surgery Dr. Manuel A. Casiano had stapled Watkins's rectum closed, causing him to be unable to have a bowel movement for 17 days.
In his personal injury claim, Watkins alleges that during an examination and exploratory surgery performed days after the removal of the polyp, he was advised by Casiano himself that his rectum was stapled shut.
The case was heard in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on September 22, 2008.
According to a report by the Frederick News-Post, Watkins claimed that the medical mistake made by Casiano permanently impaired his bowel functions and had a negative impact on his marriage. His lawyer, Julia A. Lodowski, argued that Casiano's surgical error led to Watson having four additional surgeries, painful physical injuries and severe emotional pain and suffering.
Lodowski told jurors that Watkins now has permanent bowel problems and experiences "rectal discharge" requiring that he wipe himself between 12 and 15 times a day.
Casiano's lawyer completely denied the allegations that Watkins's rectum had been stapled shut. He argued that Watkins's bowels had become swollen shut due to medical problems, some of which Watkins had caused himself.
According to Casiano's lawyer, the fact that Watkins smoked up to two packs of cigarettes a day contributed to the swelling and his medical problems because nicotine constricts blood vessels.
Casiano, a graduate of the New York School of Medicine who works at Frederick Memorial Hospital, has no record of any disciplinary actions, according to the Maryland Board of Physicians.
The jury ended the case with a ruling in favor of Casiano with no award for Watkins. Watkins's lawsuit had not specified a specific amount of damages for his injuries and pain and suffering.
Perhaps if Watkins had sought a second opinion about the staples rather than having Casiano remove them, he would have had more concrete evidence to present to the jury and the case may have had a different outcome.
Because Casiano was the doctor who allegedly made the medical mistake and corrected it, this personal injury case was unfortunately based on Watkins's word against Casiano's about what happened.
If Watkins had immediately contacted a lawyer, obtained proof of the surgical error from a third party and shown the jury medical evidence to back up his claim, he would have helped his case and may have had a better chance of winning his lawsuit against a doctor with no disciplinary record.