Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 15, 2019
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 15, 2019//
This lawsuit was brought by plaintiff following a total abdominal hysterectomy that was performed in 2013. Plaintiff had consulted the defendants with complaints of heavy menses; it was later discovered that the plaintiff had three large uterine fibroids. The decision was made to move forward with a total abdominal hysterectomy.
The operation was performed. There were no complications noted other than some bleeding. A urologist was not consulted, nor were additional tests done to ensure patency of the ureters. The patient was discharged home, and complained of back pain. After her two-week post-operative visit, a CT scan was ordered. The CT scan revealed that the right ureter had been completely obliterated during the hysterectomy procedure.
A urologist was consulted and was unable to pass a stent and placed a nephrostomy tube to relieve pressure on the kidney instead. Several weeks later, plaintiff underwent a ureteral reimplantation procedure, whereby her bladder was re-positioned to allow the injured ureter to connect without tension. Following the repair, plaintiff alleged to have continual pain due to the reflux of urine from the ureter into her kidneys, nearly constant incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms. Plaintiff intermittently completed physical therapy and recently, prior to trial, began medications to address her incontinence issues with varying success.
Plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to protect the ureter during the hysterectomy. Furthermore, plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the ureters when they could not be visualized during surgery, including by dissection of the ureters, cystoscopy or consultation with a urologist. Plaintiff alleged that had the injury been avoided or detected intraoperatively, the repair procedure would have been unnecessary and she would not be suffering from any ongoing pain or incontinence.
The defendants proved that the surgical technique employed complied with the standard of care and the injury to the ureter was unavoidable and that the standard of care did not require it to be detected intraoperatively. Furthermore, the defense experts proved that plaintiff’s complaints of pain and incontinence were a progression of her baseline symptoms and were not related to the ureter injury or subsequent repair.
After a four-day trial and deliberation by a jury for approximately two hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.
Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Ureter injury following total abdominal hysterectomy, including permanent pain and incontinence issues
Court: Chesapeake Circuit Court
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Timothy Wright
Date resolved: Oct. 31, 2019
Special damages: $47,575.61
Demand: Ad damnum was $2,000,000.
Verdict or settlement: Defense verdict
Attorneys for defendant: Rodney S. Dillman and Julie C. Mayer, Virginia Beach
Plaintiff’s experts: Steven McCarus, M.D. (OBGYN), Myron Murdock, M.D. (urology)
Defendant’s experts: J. Coleman Feore, M.D. (OBGYN), Jeffrey Lin, M.D. (OBGYN), Leslie Rickey, M.D. (urology)
Insurance carrier: The Doctors’ Company