Medical Verdicts

Ruptured diverticulum, death follow hysterectomy


Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court

A 45-year-old woman underwent a hysterectomy. A week after her staples were removed, she experienced vomiting and a fever of 100°. The patient’s husband called the doctor, who made a differential diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis and advised continued monitoring of her temperature.

The following day, the woman called the doctor with a temperature of 101° and continued vomiting. The doctor again advised her to drink plenty of fluids and to call back if symptoms persisted or worsened. Two days later, the woman was brought to the hospital in septic shock with a ruptured diverticulum and spreading peritonitis. She died later that day.

In suing, the woman’s husband contended that the doctor should have examined her in person.

The doctor argued that a diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis was reasonable and said the development of diverticulitis following a hysterectomy was not foreseeable.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.
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.

Next Article: