BALTIMORE – A man alleging a Maryland doctor stapled his rectum shut during an operation — causing him to go without defecating for 17 days — took his federal lawsuit to trial Monday in Baltimore.
Ronald Watkins, 64, of West Virginia, is suing Manuel Casiano, a doctor in Frederick County, for allegedly botching a 2004 surgery that left Watkins with permanent bowel problems.
“The reason for suing Dr. Casiano is very simple: His rectum was stapled shut,” said Julia Lodowski, who with attorney Emily Malarkey is representing Watkins and his wife, Brenda.
Lodowski told jurors in U.S. District Court that Watkins now experiences “rectal discharge” and needs to wipe himself between 12 and 15 times a day.
He’s also had to have four “unnecessary surgeries” because of Casiano’s actions, Lodowski said.
The doctor’s attorney, Conrad Varner, said Watkins’ bowels merely became “swollen shut” because of medical problems — not because of stapling.
Varner said Watkins’ habitual smoking — two packs a day — contributed to his bowel problems, because nicotine constricts blood vessels.
Watkins underwent surgery Sept. 8, 2004, for a newly diagnosed rectal tumor, during which Casiano made the mistake, according to his lawsuit against the Foris Surgical Group.
Watkins then complained of increasing rectal pressure, and an inability to pass gas, his lawsuit states.
In a subsequent surgery, Casiano found that Watkins’ rectum was closed because of staples, according to the lawsuit.
“He couldn’t get past the staple line,” Lodowski told jurors.
“How else do we know that his rectum was stapled shut? Most importantly, Dr. Casiano said so.”
A graduate of New York School of Medicine who works at Frederick Memorial Hospital, Casiano has no record of any disciplinary actions, according to the Maryland Board of Physicians.
Watkins’ lawsuit does not seek a specific amount of damages.
The trial is expected to continue for four days