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Medical Verdicts

Laparoscopy leads to laceration of aorta, vena cava

January 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 1
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<court>Otsego County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

A 34-year-old woman with a history of chronic pelvic pain underwent a hysteroscopy and diagnostic laparoscopy. During the laparoscopy, she suffered a laceration to her abdominal aorta and vena cava. The surgery was converted to an open procedure so that the lacerations could be repaired.

In suing, the patient claimed that the doctor negligently inserted the trocar and/or Veress needle, since the injury occurred 0.5 cm above the bifurcation of her aorta and vena cava. She also claimed 37 minutes elapsed between the discovery of her injuries and the repair.

The doctor argued that blood vessel injuries are a known risk of laparoscopic procedures. He also denied that a 37-minute lapse in time occurred in repairing her injury.

  • 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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Vaginal hysterectomy 
with basic instrumentation