Defense testimony starts in malpractice suit against gynecologist

A medical malpractice trial is under way against a prominent gynecologist alleged to have botched a robotic surgery.

Daniel Laury is defending a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by a Montana woman who claims Laury was grossly negligent when he removed her healthy ovary in 2007 using a da Vinci robotic device and left a piece of plastic behind in her body. The plaintiffs, Michelle Elsey and husband Toby Elsey, are suing Laury for more than $1 million.

Jurors heard expert testimony today from a Portland gynecologist on Laury's behalf. Dr. Michael Lee testified that none of the operating-room staff at Providence Medford Medical Center informed Laury of problems with the robotic equipment following Elsey's Sept. 28 surgery. In such cases, said Lee, hospital operating-room staff manipulate the robot arms that come into contact with patients while physicians work in a console about 10 feet away. The plastic part that later was discovered freely floating in Elsey's pelvis likely would not cause pain she claimed to suffer, Lee said.

Elsey was unaware of foreign objects in her body until 2011, when they showed up in a CT scan ordered by a Bozeman, Mont., doctor. A laparoscopy sheath used in the 2007 surgery, as well as extraneous coils used as birth-control devices, subsequently were removed from Elsey's body.

Now listing his practice in Hermiston with the Oregon Medical Board, Laury has been quoted in several newspaper articles about medical care and appeared on Jackson County radio and television programs, including hosting an RVTV show, "The Doctor is Listening."

The trial before District Court Judge Owen M. Panner is scheduled to run through Thursday. It opened Tuesday.

— Sarah Lemon

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