Medical Verdicts

Did insufficient dilation lead to cervical, uterine injuries?


Bronx County (NY) Supreme Court

Upon presentation at a clinic for an abortion, a 19-year-old patient at 20 weeks’ gestation had laminaria inserted to dilate her cervix. She returned the following day for insertion of additional laminaria.

Two days after the initial procedure, she presented for completion of the abortion. During the procedure, the patient’s cervix was lacerated and her uterus perforated. The physician then performed an ultrasound and discovered fetal parts floating in the woman’s abdomen.

She was transferred to a hospital, where she underwent a hysterotomy and exploratory laparotomy. She was hospitalized for 2 weeks and advised that she would have difficulty becoming pregnant and carrying a baby to term. Two years later, however, she delivered vaginally without complication.

In suing, the patient argued that the clinic physician performed the abortion prematurely, before her cervix was fully dilated.

The doctor contended that her complications were a known risk of the procedure.

  • The case settled for $285,000.
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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