Medical Verdicts on the Web
NOTABLE JUDGMENTS AND SETTLEMENTS IN BRIEF
Did young woman need hysterectomy?
A few months after giving birth, a 22-year-old woman presented to her ObGyn with lower abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. Although she wanted more children, she consented to a total hysterectomy to avoid developing a very dangerous condition. However, she was not clear on what that condition was.
Patient’s claim The hysterectomy was unnecessary, because she had a normal post-childbirth problem that could have been treated with Depo-Provera or oral contraceptives. She did not give informed consent, because her condition was not explained to her, and the hospital chart and physician’s office chart differed significantly. Finally, the hospital was negligent for credentialing the physician, who had a high rate of hysterectomies in women under 30 and had several lawsuits filed against him.
Doctor’s defense The ObGyn offered the patient alternatives to a hysterectomy, but she insisted on a hysterectomy. The hospital claimed it followed its credentialing procedures.
Verdict $1.75 million Washington verdict. The physician was found to be 90% at fault, and the hospital 10% at fault. Post-trial motions were pending.
Woman hears “cancer” and has hysterectomy
A 24-year-old woman underwent a hysterectomy because she believed the doctor told her she had cancer.
Patient’s claim She was told the surgery was necessary because of cancer, but she did not have cancer—thus the hysterectomy was unnecessary. Also, she did not give informed consent.
Doctor’s defense As the patient did not want the frequent follow-up needed with other options to treat her precancerous growth, a hysterectomy was a legitimate treatment choice. She was fully informed of all options, and the surgery was performed properly.
Verdict Illinois 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, Nashville, Tenn (www.verdictslaska.com). The available information about the cases is sometimes incomplete; pertinent details may be unavailable. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Still, these cases represent types of clinical situations that may result in litigation and are meant to illustrate variation in verdicts and awards. Any illustrations are generic and do not represent a specific legal case.