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Medical Verdicts


IUD left in patient after hysterectomy

November 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 11

<court>Cooke County (Tex) District Court</court>

When a 41-year-old woman reported chronic pelvic pain, her doctor recommended a hysterectomy. Several years earlier, the patient had had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted. Whether the hysterectomy was scheduled in part for the removal of the IUD was in dispute during the trial.

Following a vaginal hysterectomy, the doctor searched manually for the IUD but was unable to locate it. She concluded that the device had been removed. Eight years later, the intrauterine device was detected still inside the patient; it was removed during an unrelated liver biopsy.

In suing, the woman claimed the doctor was negligent for not removing the IUD and for not alerting her to the pathology report that showed no indication of IUD removal. She alleged that she suffered pelvic pain as a result of the doctor’s negligence. She also argued that an abdominal hysterectomy would have been more appropriate than a vaginal hysterectomy.

The doctor contended that a vaginal hysterectomy was appropriate. Further, she observed that an IUD is only 2 to 3 cm long and can be easily missed—even by a physician exercising a high degree of medical care. The physician also maintained that her failure to notify the patient of the possibility that the IUD might still be present did not fall below the standard of care.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.

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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