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Medical Verdicts


Misplaced suture leads to nerve damage, foot drop

September 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 9

<court>Middlesex County (Mass) Superior Court</court>

A 52-year-old woman presented to her Ob/Gyn for a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, along with a left sacrospinous ligament fixation to correct a prolapsed uterus with a prolapsed vagina. Postoperatively, the patient complained of pain in her left buttock and left leg, as well as weakness in her toes and left leg. After a neurologist was consulted, the patient was advised that observation was the best course of action. Later, she developed foot drop. Subsequent examination determined that the woman’s symptoms stemmed from a misplaced suture near or through the pudendal vessels and sciatic nerve.

In suing, the patient alleged that the Ob/Gyn failed to perform the surgery within the standard of care and did not exercise caution while suturing.

The Ob/Gyn contended that the patient relied on a neurologist to observe her condition. The neurologist, however, claimed he was unaware that foot drop was a potential complication of a sacrospinous ligament fixation.

  • The case against the Ob/Gyn settled for $631,000. A suit is still pending against defendant neurologist.

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