Medical Verdicts

Myomectomy performed: Was hysterectomy indicated?


 

Ventura County (Calif) Superior Court

Narcotic analgesics failed to resolve the symptoms of a 32-year-old woman with menorrhagia, cramping, and pain. Her family physician therefore ordered a pelvic ultrasound. The study revealed multiple myomas, and the patient was referred to an Ob/Gyn.

In discussions with the Ob/Gyn, the patient expressed her desire for a hysterectomy to resolve the problem. During surgery, how-ever, the physician discovered that no fibroids existed within the uterus; rather, a large myoma on a stalk was attached to the patient’s uterus. The doctor opted to remove the fibroid at the stalk, leaving the uterus intact.

Following surgery, the patient’s symptoms continued. She sought treatment from several other physicians, and approximately 1 year after the initial procedure had a hysterec-tomy. She claims she is now symptom-free.

In suing, the plaintiff argued that her understanding of the initial procedure was that a hysterectomy would be performed, to ensure permanent resolution of her symptoms. She alleged that in opting for a myomectomy, the defendant conducted a surgery for which she had not given consent. She sought damages for pain and suffering, as well as lost wages.

The defendant claimed it was not necessary to inform the patient of changes in the planned surgery based on unsuspected pathology, and that the woman was told that additional procedures might be required.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.
The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn. (www.verdictslaska.com) 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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