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Medical Verdicts

Was hysterectomy needed for borderline ovarian tumor?

November 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 11
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<court>Suffolk County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

Following a sonogram that revealed asymptomatic bilateral ovarian cysts, a 39-year-old woman underwent a left ovarian cystectomy.

When the pathologist reported a borderline ovarian tumor, her physician performed a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

The pathology slides were subsequently sent for review to another hospital. Disagreement arose as to the extent and nature of the ovarian tumor, as well as whether the patient needed chemotherapy. The woman opted to forego chemotherapy and has done well ever since.

In suing, the woman claimed the hysterectomy was unnecessary.

The doctor argued that because an ovarian tumor’s course is unpredictable and because microscopic tumor implants may have been present on the uterus, a hysterectomy was in the patient’s best interest.

  • During a retrial, 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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