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PA Jury Awards $3.34M to Soccer Star with Undetected Bowel Perforation

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27-year-old Juan Duque is a promising young soccer star set to play professionally in Colombia (photo of Columbian national team player).

A Pennsylvania jury returned a verdict of $3.34 million in favor of 27-year-old Juan Duque, a promising young soccer star set to play professionally in Colombia. The Philadelphia County jury ruled on July 9 that both Hahnemann University Hospital and Dr. William Meyers were negligent in promptly diagnosing a bowel perforation.

"Juan will continue to suffer from this negligence for the rest of his life," says Bradley T. Beckman, an attorney with Beckman & Marion. "We can only hope the jury's verdict eases some of his and his family's continued pain and anguish."

Before departing to Colombia to play professional soccer, Duque experienced pain in his left groin for which he consulted Dr. Meyers. Assured by Meyers that he would be fully healed and ready to play within three weeks, Duque underwent a surgical procedure developed by Meyers for groin pain.

Duque was discharged from Hahnemann hospital on the evening after surgery, and shortly thereafter he experienced severe abdominal pain.  After telephoning Meyers several times, Duque returned to Hahnemann's Emergency Room the following afternoon. Meyers sent his chief resident to evaluate his patient.

Life-threatening infection

All of Duque's symptoms showed obvious signs of a perforated bowel, which can cause a life-threatening infection. After several hours at the hospital without proper diagnosis, a CT scan with oral barium contrast was ordered -- which is absolutely contraindicated with possibility of bowel perforation.

The CT scan showed a bowel perforation with the spread of intestinal contents and barium throughout Duque's abdomen. Due to the barium, Duque developed severe barium peritonitis, requiring a month-long hospital stay, multiple surgeries and placement of drains to clear recurrent infected abscesses.

During the trial, the defendants offered to settle the case for $1.5 million, which Duque rejected. Alisa Marion and Bradley Beckman, partners in the Beckman & Marion firm, said that justice was served.

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