Jury: Patient at fault for skipping follow-up
<court>Brazos County (Tex) District Court</court>
A 42-year-old woman with a 4×6 cm mass on her left ovary was given hormone suppression therapy and told to return in a month. She did not return for a year, at which time the mass was found to have enlarged to 9×11 cm and surgery was recommended.
Because of adhesions, a laparotomy was performed. The next day the woman complained of back pain, and it was discovered that a ureter had been cut. The woman underwent surgery to repair the ureter.
In suing, the woman asserted the physician was negligent in failing to protect the ureter from injury during the laparotomy. She claimed she had back pain, chronic depression, loss of bladder control, and disfigurement as a result of the injury.
The physician contended the ureter was injured during clamping of deep pelvic blood vessels to control bleeding and that the ureter had been visualized as intact prior to closure. The physician also claimed negligence on the part of the woman, for failing to return for a follow-up examination when recommended, leading to the growth of the mass, which complicated the surgery.
- The jury returned a defense verdict.
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). The available information about the cases presented here is sometimes incomplete; thus, pertinent details of a given situation may be unavailable. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Nevertheless, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation and are meant to illustrate nationwide variation in jury verdicts and awards.