Daniel F. Ryan, III obtained a defense verdict for a cardiothoracic surgeon in Philadelphia County.  In this case, the decedent underwent a ventral septal defect repair procedure on November 15, 2000. The decedent subsequently underwent a second emergency heart surgery, during which a surgical sponge was left in her. A third surgery was performed on November 17, 2000 to remove the retained sponge.

In September of 2001, decedent was admitted to the hospital after what was believed to be a transient ischemic attack. On echocardiogram, it was discovered that she had a mass on her left atrium. She underwent surgical resection of this mass, which was cultured and found to be negative for infection. During the same procedure, the decedent underwent mitral valve repair and removal of part of the prior pericardial patch repair. The final culture of the removed portion of the pericardial patch repair was also negative.

On October 2, 2001, decedent developed severe mitral regurgitation and was taken emergently back to the operating room. In the operating room, she became hypotensive and physicians attempted access to the right femoral vessels to establish cardiopulmonary bypass, which was unsuccessful. Physicians were able to establish cardiopulmonary bypass by right thoracotomy. The decedent underwent mitral valve replacement, but she could not be separated from cardiopulmonary bypass and was pronounced dead in the operating room.

Plaintiff alleged a breach of the standard of care for the retained sponge and failure to perform a post-operative chest x-ray to determine whether a sponge had been left in her following the emergency surgery. Plaintiff also contended that the delay in diagnosing the presence of the sponge resulted in a delay in removal, increased risk of harm and post-operative complications.

Following an eight day trial, the jury entered a defense verdict.