Virginia Lawyers Weekly//October 27, 2014
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//October 27, 2014//
Plaintiff, a 48-year-old woman, underwent a hysterectomy on Nov. 30, 2009, for complaints of long-standing severe pain and dysfunctional bleeding with her menstrual cycle. The surgery was performed by two experienced surgeons employed by the defendant, an obstetrical/ gynecological practice. The surgery began laparoscopically but the surgeons converted to an open procedure when they encountered dense adhesions between the bowel and the back of the uterus. Once they opened, the adhesions were sharply dissected and they were able to complete the hysterectomy. At the end of the procedure, the physicians identified both ureters and noted they appeared normal. The patient’s urine was clear and there was no urine leaking into the abdomen. The surgeons closed and the patient was taken to recovery.
When the plaintiff was discharged from the hospital on post-operative day number three, she was afebrile, ambulating, eating, drinking, voiding on her own and stable. She returned to the emergency room later the same day with complaints of abdominal pain and distention, fever, nausea and fatigue. She was later found to have a urinoma, which was drained. On post-operative day number six, she was diagnosed with an injury to her right ureter. A percutaneous nephrostomy tube was placed in December 2009, and in April 2010, she underwent ureter reimplantation surgery.
Plaintiff claimed that the surgeons breached the standard of care by injuring her right ureter during surgery and by failing to identify the injury intraoperatively. Defendant’s expert witnesses testified the physicians complied with the standard of care in all respects and that a ureteral injury is an unfortunate but known and accepted risk of a hysterectomy surgery. Further, the defense experts testified the ureter injury was a partial thickness injury which would have been difficult, if not impossible, to detect during surgery.
On the fourth day of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.
Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Ureter injury during a hysterectomy
Court: Norfolk Circuit Court
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Judge John R. Doyle III
Date resolved: July 31, 2014
Verdict or settlement: Defense verdict
Attorneys for defendant: Kimberly Satterwhite and Ashley Dobbin, Richmond
Plaintiff’s experts: Frank Bottiglieri, M.D., OB/GYN, Maryland; Catherine Matthews, M.D., OB/GYN, North Carolina
Insurance carrier: MAG Mutual Insurance Company