Undiluted acid used for vulvar surgery
WIDE LOCAL EXCISION was performed on a 42-year-old woman with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasm, VIN II, with moderate dysplasia. Her ObGyn performed the surgery.
Instead of applying a diluted solution of acetic acid wash to delineate the borders of the dysplastic area, a highly concentrated acetic acid or trichloroacetic acid was used. The patient suffered severe chemical burns of the vulva that took several months to heal. She has permanent scarring of the vulvar area, severe tenderness, discoloration, and atrophy of the vaginal opening, with a band of thick scar tissue at the posterior fourchette. The perineum, extending to the anal area, is scarred, including a 2-mm plaque layer.
PATIENT’S CLAIM Sexual intercourse is extremely painful, and therefore impossible. She suffers discomfort at all times. Additional surgery has been recommended to alleviate her condition.
DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE The case was settled before trial.
VERDICT A $600,000 Ohio settlement was reached.