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Medical Verdicts

Did incomplete ovary removal lead to residual pain?

December 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 12
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<court>Queens County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

A woman underwent an abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingooophorectomy after a long history of uterine fibroids, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and pelvic pain.

For a year following the procedure, the patient continued to experience intermittent pelvic and abdominal pain. A laparoscopy revealed a partial left ovary that had not been removed during the initial surgery.

In suing, the woman alleged that the physician was negligent in his performance of the hysterectomy, leaving the cervix intact and failing to completely remove both ovaries. In addition, the doctor failed to notice the presence of ovarian tissue in several postoperative pelvic sonograms. The woman contended that because she had endometriosis, the retained ovarian tissue heightened her pain.

The physician argued that the patient had a distorted pelvic anatomy, with pelvic adhesions that pulled the fallopian tubes and ovaries out of their normal anatomic alignment. During the surgery, he claimed, the adhesions impeded his ability to tell whether he had completely removed the ovaries. Regardless, the doctor maintained that the woman’s residual pain was due to the adhesions, not problems stemming from her hysterectomy.

  • The jury returned a verdict for the defense.

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.

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