West Palm Beach, FL— Trial opened Monday against a Florida doctor accused of negligence in a robot-assisted prostate surgery. Rosenberg v. Muhletaler, et al., 2019-CA-014940.
Steven Rosenberg suffered a rectal tear during a 2018 robot-assisted simple prostetectomy performed by Dr. Frederick Muhletaler. Rosenberg says Muhletaler did not properly repair the tear, leading him to suffer a rectourethral fistula, or opening between the urethra and rectum. Rosenberg was forced to undergo surgery to repair the fistula, leading to a temporary ileostomy and a host of long-term, genitourinary complications.
During Monday’s openings, Rosenberg’s attorney, Searcy Denney’s Karen Terry, told jurors a rectal tear does not typically occur in this type of surgery. She added that Muhletaler, a urologist, lacked the experience to repair the tear and that evidence would show he should have called in a general surgeon or specialist with the background to handle the complication.
“When you do what he did and you think you’re a hot shot and you can repair the rectum, well guess what? It didn’t work,” Terry said. “Recognize your limitations and stay in your lane. The defendant didn’t do that.”
But the defense argues rectal tears are possible even when the surgery is properly performed, and they contend Muhletaler treated Rosenberg appropriately. During Monday’s openings, Adams | Coogler’s Nicholas Madsen previewed evidence he said would show Muhletaler acted properly in treating the rectal tear.
“This was a complication that occurred during an extremely complex procedure, a complication that can occur even when the physician, the surgeon, conducts himself in accordance with the standard of care,” Madsen said. “And unfortunately that is what occurred in this case.”
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