Medical Verdicts

Nephrectomy required after ureter injury


<court>Rockland County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

Two days after a bilateral oophorectomy for ovarian cysts, a 72-year-old woman developed spiking fevers. The pathologists, in examining a mass removed at surgery, discovered a segment of the ureter.

After unsuccessful surgery to reattach the ureter—during which swelling in the abdominal cavity prevented the physician from locating the ureter’s distal end—the woman went into septic shock and required several days of ventilation. She was placed on a nephrostomy bag, which she wore for the next 3 months, before undergoing a successful nephrectomy plus insertion of a Greenfield filter.

In suing, the woman claimed the surgeon failed to identify and protect her ureter during surgery, and further failed to recognize the injury in a timely fashion, when successful repair was still possible.

The defendant maintained he took all appropriate precautions.

  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $2.6 million.

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 ( 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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