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    Maternal death from intracranial hemorrhage

    Case hinges on family physician’s knowledge of obstetric conditions


    Failure to diagnose ovarian cancer

    A 71-year-old New Jersey woman presented to her gynecologist, who detected a mass on her right ovary and advised her to come back in 3 months. An U/S was performed on the follow-up visit, and the gynecologist reported that the mass had grown marginally and advised her to come back in 6 months for another examination. Another U/S revealed that the mass had grown significantly, and she was sent to a gynecologic oncologist, who diagnosed ovarian cancer. The woman’s condition is now considered terminal.

    The patient sued the gynecologist and alleged that he violated the standard of care by not referring her to an oncologist at the first examination. She claimed her chances of cure decreased from 94% to 0% in the interceding 11 months.

    The gynecologist contended that he did not breach the standard of care.

    The verdict: The case settled for $1.8 million.

    Bowel perforation during hysterectomy

    A 44-year-old woman underwent a laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy performed by her gynecologist at a Pennsylvania hospital. The procedure was done because she had uterine fibroids. During the operation the gynecologist unintentionally sliced into the patient’s bowel. He immediately stopped the hysterectomy due to the increased risk of complications and a general surgeon came and repaired the bowel injury. The patient suffered with a colostomy and prolonged stress.

    The woman sued the gynecologist and the resident assistant, alleging that they negligently misidentified her large bowel and cut into it, and contended that she was not informed that this was a known risk of the procedure.

    Recommended: Case hinges on timing of bowel perforation

    The gynecologist argued that while performing the operation in standard fashion, he noted a fecal odor and immediately suspected the injury and the surgeon was called. He asserted that the patient’s suffering was unfortunate, but that the injury was a known surgical complication that can occur without negligence and it was recognized and appropriately addressed.

    The verdict: A defense verdict was returned.

    NEXT: Failure to perform cesarea after attempted water birth


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