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Medical Verdicts

Was hysterectomy for pelvic pain unnecessary?

November 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 11

<court>Maricopa County (Ariz) Superior Court</court>

A 28-year-old woman presented to a gynecologist with pelvic pain. She advised the physician that she had been diagnosed with endometriosis after the birth of her son 7 years prior. Medical records, however, indicated that she was diagnosed with endometritis.

The physician performed a pelvic examination and recommended a hysterectomy. The patient underwent a hysterectomy and right salpingo-oophorectomy 2 weeks later.

A postoperative pathology report showed that the woman had a corpus luteum cyst on her right ovary, not endometriosis. Following the patient’s discharge, she experienced pain and numbness on the outside of her right thigh. Six months later, she was diagnosed with a lateral femoral cutaneous nerve injury.

In suing, the woman claimed that the physician should have performed a laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis, rather than recommend an unnecessary hysterectomy and right salpingo oophorectomy. Further, the patient claimed that the physician was negligent for injuring her lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. She also contended that the doctor failed to tell her of the pathology findings, and never informed her that she did not have endometriosis.

The doctor argued that the woman was given the option of a laparoscopy, but chose a hysterectomy. He further alleged that a lateral femoral cutaneous nerve injury is a known complication of a hysterectomy.

  • The case settled for $250,000.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.