A well-regarded local surgeon lost a malpractice suit in 1st District Court, and on Thursday his former patient was awarded $167,000 in damages.
Dr. Mark T. Hansen was accused of severing the wrong duct during a laparoscopic gallbladder removal, resulting in additional surgery and ongoing medical problems for the patient, according to a complaint filed in 2014.
Hansen has 25 years of surgical experience and many positive ratings online. Court records show he denied he was at fault for the error, but after hearing the evidence presented this week, the jury disagreed.
His attorney, Gary Wight of Kipp and Christian PC of Salt Lake City, declined to comment on the case.
According to attorney Brad Bearnson, based on the complaint he filed in court, Hansen owed it to his patient to provide appropriate care and treatment to her, including proper identification of the ducts to prevent severing the wrong one, switching to an open surgery procedure if necessary, and/or using imaging tools available to him during the procedure.
“Dr. Hansen failed to observe even slight care in performing the … procedure on Ms. Burton and acted with utter indifference to the consequences of his actions and/or omissions,” Bearnson states in the complaint.
However, court records also indicate that Hansen apologized to the woman and paid for some of the medical expenses incurred as a result of his error.
A jury heard all of the applicable evidence in Judge Brian Cannell’s courtroom this week, and after four hours of deliberation, the jury determined that Hansen was at fault and the patient was awarded $167,000 in damages.