Should ovaries have been removed?
<court>Davis County (Utah) District Court</court>
A woman with a family history of ovarian/cervical cancer discussed with her gynecologist her desire for a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. After obtaining informed consent, the gynecologist performed the procedure but did not remove the ovaries because, “they appeared normal when visualized during surgery.”
The woman later had severe abdominal pain that was diagnosed as ovarian cysts and adhesions around her ovaries. A different physician then performed a second surgery to remove the ovaries.
In suing, the woman faulted the first physician for failing to remove the ovaries during the initial surgery. The physician asserted that the medical indication for the hysterectomy did not extend to a medical need to remove the ovaries and that the development of adhesions was a known risk of the procedure. The physician also argued that the anatomical positioning of the ovaries made removal problematic without substantial risk.
- A confidential settlement was reached.
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.