Woman files suit against doctor

July 07, 1997


Staff Writer

A Hagerstown woman Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Washington County Hospital and a gynecologist she claims left a large laparotomy pad inside her pelvis.

According to the suit brought by Beverly Ann Padilla, 24, of 435 George Street, Dr. Jowheri J. Mullick attempted a vaginal delivery of Padilla's baby even though she had previously given birth by Caesarean section.

During the Nov. 16, 1995 procedure, Mullick gave Padilla Pitocin, a drug that causes contraction of the uterus, according to Washington County Circuit Court records.


Due to Mullick's "failure to observe basic and fundamental standards of care," Padilla suffered a rupture of her uterus, the suit alleges.

Padilla's membrane spontaneously ruptured, according to the suit. She lost a lot of blood, the suit alleges.

In addition, the suit contends that Mullick left a 9 centimeter laparotomy pad and a plastic ring 2 inches in diameter inside Padilla's pelvis after an emergency Caesarean section.

Padilla complained of pain, but was told it was normal and would eventually go away, the suit contends.

But it did not go away, and when Padilla entered a hospital in Puerto Rico on Jan. 22 of this year, X-rays revealed foreign objects, the suit contends.

"Based on the evidence, it's a clear cut case of a surgeon not checking the wound before closing,'' said Marvin Ellin, Padilla's attorney.

Ellin said the nurses also erred by not accounting for the laparotomy pad, which is used to push organs out of the way during surgery, he said.

Ellin said he will ask a jury for $500,000.

"Mullick simply left it in there and the nurses who are supposed to count these things had an erroneous count," he said.

Mullick could not be reached for comment.

Reached at home Wednesday night, hospital spokesman Beth Kirkpatrick said she was not aware of the lawsuit.

A third count of the suit, brought by Padilla and her husband, Roberto, contends that the defendants' negligence has damaged their marriage.

Their "social, familial and marital contact" continues to be interrupted as a result, according to the lawsuit.

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