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Medical Verdicts

Did failure to note ureter transection lead to kidney loss?

December 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 12

<court>Undisclosed County (Calif) Superior Court</court>

A 70-year-old woman presented to a hospital for laparoscopic removal of left and right adnexal masses. Noting dense adhesions, however, the surgeon opted to perform an open procedure.

Postoperatively, a pathologist informed the physician that the patient’s right ureter was transected. After an intravenous pyelogram, several attempts were made to repair the ureter; all were unsuccessful. The patient ultimately underwent a right radical nephrectomy.

In suing, the woman claimed that the surgeon had negligently clamped and transected the ureter, then failed to notice the injury intraoperatively. She claimed that the kidney removal could have been avoided had the doctor noted the transection in a timely fashion.

The doctor argued that ureteral transection is a risk of the procedure. She further maintained that removal of the patient’s right kidney would have been required even if the injury had been discovered intraoperatively.

  • Following a 2-day arbitration, the plaintiff was awarded $233,533 plus $17,943 in enhanced costs.

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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