Dionne Licudine, a 25-year old alumnus of the University of Southern California (USC), is well known in collegiate rowing for leading her team to victory at the San Diego Classic in 2012. However, many people were not aware she had suffered a life-threatening injury while undergoing routine gall bladder removal surgery in March 2013, just weeks before the competition.
Licudine filed a lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the physician who performed her surgery, Dr. Ankur Gupta, in January 2013. The trial for the medical malpractice claim began in mid-May.
Key error leads to significant damage
According to the plaintiff, Dr. Gupta damaged a blood vessel while attempting to view Licudine’s abdomen with a small camera attached to a surgical instrument. As a result, another physician had to perform vascular surgery to save Licudine’s life, and she was left with a scar running six inches from her sternum to her navel. She says she suffered from significant emotional distress after the incident and was embarrassed to wear two-piece bathing suits during rowing activities and recreation for a long time afterwards. The coach of the rowing team described her as being “devastated” by the incident, and was worried she would be unable to return to the team.
Licudine was eventually offered a position as a graduate assistant coach, a position that would have come with free graduate school tuition, but she had to decline the offer due to her health.
Although doctors and other medical professionals are not expected to be perfect, they do need to provide patients with a certain standard of care. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to a health care professional’s negligence, speak with a compassionate San Diego medical malpractice attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.