Delaware County (Pa) Court of Common Pleas—During a workup for infertility, a physician discovered that his patient had a tubal obstruction and performed an exploratory laparoscopy. During the procedure, the woman suffered internal bleeding from a lacerated left iliac vein. A vascular surgeon then performed an emergency laparotomy to repair the vein and achieve hemostasis.
In suing, the woman claimed that during the laparoscopy, the physician inserted the trocar at an improper angle, resulting in the laceration of her left iliac vein. Although the injury was repaired, the patient maintained that it caused vascular congestion, which compressed her back nerves, making it difficult for her to sit for long periods of time without experiencing pain. She also allegedly suffers from urinary incontinence and, as a result, has been unable to work.
The physician argued that the patient had chronic back pain prior to the laparoscopy and that the procedure and injury caused no further damage.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.2 million and also awarded her husband $100,000 for pain and suffering.
The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.