Failure To Recognize Intraoperative Injury
Date of Verdict/Settlement: June 23, 2011
Topic: Medical Malpractice – Gynecological Surgery – Hysterectomy – The plaintiff claimed OB-GYN surgeon failed to recognize
Summary: Award Total: $375,000
RESULT (Settlement): The parties agreed to a $375,000 settlement during jury deliberations.
Insurance Carrier: Physician’s Reciprocal Insurers
Plaintiff: Victoria Wickman; Law Office of Victoria Wickman.; New York, NY
Defendant: Barry Schreiber; Aaronson Rappaport Feinstein & Deutsch
Judge: Gloria Dabiri
State: New York; County: Kings
Facts: The plaintiff, a 54-year-old court clerk, underwent a subtotal abdominal hysterectomy performed by her OB-GYN. Intraoperatively, the physician placed a suture around her left ureter thereby strangling it. Despite this injury being a known complication, the physician did not recognize that he did so, nor did he check that the ureter was free from injury prior to ending the surgery. Because the ureter was blocked off, the urine produced by the kidney could not flow to the bladder. Her left kidney filled with fluid, a condition called hydronephrosis. A few days after surgery she complained of severe lower back and abdominal pain. She returned to the hospital where a urologist performed a cystoscopy and diagnosed the plaintiff as having a completely blocked ureter. A tube was placed into the plaintiff’s kidney to drain the fluid, a procedure called a nephrostomy, allowing the kidney to heal. Six weeks later, she underwent surgery to cut the ureter above the damage and reimplant the ureter into the bladder. Three weeks later, her nephrostomy tube was removed. Plaintiff claimed that as a result, she suffered from intermittent flank pain and urge incontinence. At trial, it was brought out by the defense that there were no documented complaints of either flank pain or intermittent incontinence.