Medical Verdicts

Labial tear leads to partial labia removal


Nassau County (NY) Supreme Court

A 37-year-old woman presented to her Ob/Gyn for the delivery of her child in July 1997. Six weeks later, she returned to the delivering physician’s partner for the repair of a hole in her labia minora.

In December 1997, the physician performed a surgical tissue repair. At a follow-up visit in January, the physician noted that the tear had not healed and thought it may have been the result of a reaction to the suture.

In March, the physician performed a second repair using a different suture material. At a follow-up visit, the doctor reported that the area was healing well. However, the woman presented to another doctor in April with complaints that the tear had reopened. A third surgery was attempted without success. Several more attempts to close the hole were performed. In October, the physician removed a portion of the labia to remedy the problem.

In suing, the patient claimed that the delivering physician did not notice the labial tear following delivery and as a result did not repair it in a timely fashion. The woman also argued that the physician who attempted to repair the tear did not use proper technique.

The delivering physician claimed that the patient’s tear following delivery was not recognizable. The doctor who attempted the repairs argued that he used appropriate technique, and further alleged that the patient’s poor healing pattern and the vascular condition of her labia compromised her ability to heal properly.

  • 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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