Medical Verdicts

Perforated cervix leads to pain, infertility


 

Cook County (Ill) Superior Court

A 26-year-old woman presented to a clinic for an elective first-trimester abortion. During the procedure, the physician encountered cervical stenosis and referred the patient to another facility so that the abortion could be performed under general anesthesia. The procedure was conducted 5 days later.

Seven months later, the woman went to another physician with complaints of painful intercourse and bowel movements. She ultimately underwent a laparoscopy for the pain. During the procedure, the operating physician discovered a false passage or perforation of the cervical canal that led to an infected mass on the posterior cul-de-sac.

In suing, the woman claimed that the physician who performed the abortion caused the perforation and failed to prescribe antibiotics. She allegedly continues to suffer from painful intercourse and bowel movements, as well as infertility.

The physician contended that false passages or perforations do not become infected and will eventually heal spontaneously. In addition, the doctor argued that antibiotics were not the standard of care for treating false passages and therefore not necessary postoperatively. The physician further alleged that the patient’s pain was a result of a fibroid tumor and that the plaintiff—who took oral contraceptives for over 6 years—may be less fertile because of cervical stenosis.

  • The jury returned a verdict for the defense.
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.

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