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Medical Verdicts


Colostomy required after oophorectomy

June 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 6

<court>Undisclosed venue (Mich)</court>

A woman complaining of tenderness in the right upper quadrant went to her gynecologist, who attributed the pain to a left ovary cyst. Despite the lack of further testing, the physician said the cyst was cancerous and recommended immediate removal. The woman consented to a laparoscopic oophorectomy.

The inferior epigastric artery was severed by the third-year resident who performed most of the procedure. After surgery, the woman had abdominal pain leading to distension, guarding, and tympany. She was unable to have a bowel movement or void, and a fever developed, leading to peritonitis/sepsis.

After her physician diagnosed ileus, a surgical consult on the 5th postoperative day revealed an immediately obvious 2-cm hole in the sigmoid colon. Because of the delay, the hole could not be repaired safely, and a colostomy was performed. Many abdominal surgeries were needed to remove necrotic bowel, drain abscesses, and reconstruct the abdominal wall.

In suing, the plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure to immediately detect the perforation during the initial procedure. She also claimed the oophorectomy was unnecessary and argued that the ovarian cyst would have resolved spontaneously over time.

The defendant argued that the woman had a “delayed rupture” of the colon.

  • The case settled for $1 million at mediation.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn (www.verdictslaska.com). 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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