$2.6M awarded in malpractice case; UMass Memorial named in suit.

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Byline: Lee Hammel

WORCESTER - A Worcester Superior Court jury has returned a $2.6 million verdict in a medical malpractice case.

The verdict was against Dr. Richard A. Perugini and UMass Memorial Medical Group. The suit was brought by Jorge Rosado of Worcester in connection with a laparoscopic hernia operation July 24, 2004.

Mr. Rosado, who was 21 when he had the first operation, endured eight more operations over five months after a surgical tack wound up in his small bowel instead of the lining of his stomach, according to his lawyer, Gregg J. Pasquale. During the ordeal, Mr. Rosado, a Worcester mechanic, was in intensive care with a breathing tube, underwent an ileostomy, and had an open abdominal wound for more than a month, said Mr. Pasquale, a Rockland lawyer with an office in Worcester.

Dr. Perugini remains in practice at UMass Memorial, spokesman Robert Brogna said. "UMass Memorial Medical Center is dedicated to providing safe, quality health care to all of its patients.

"Although we are unable to comment on specific patient care issues due to confidentiality considerations, we need to acknowledge that we strongly disagree with the outcome of this case and believe that the surgical care was appropriate," he said. He declined to say if the verdict will be appealed.

The jury returned the verdict Tuesday after nine hours of deliberation over two days. That followed three days of testimony.

The defense argued it is a known risk that the titanium surgical tack used to close surgical wounds can become loose over time and drop into a patient's anatomy. They argued that it was not in Mr. Rosado's bowel at an Aug. 4, 2004, post-operative visit to Dr. Perugini. Dr. Matthew H. Hetter, a Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon, and Dr. Philip C. Carling, a Carney Hospital infectious disease doctor, testified that Dr. Perugini gave appropriate care meeting an "excellent"...

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