Severed Ureter During Hysterectomy Merits $300,000 Settlement | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What Happened

Our medical malpractice client was 39 years old when she visited her gynecologist complaining of swelling and pain in her abdomen. A CT scan revealed a uterine abscess, and the doctor recommended a complete hysterectomy.

Removing the woman’s uterus required opening her abdominal cavity. During the procedure, the gynecologist inadvertently cut one our client’s ureters, which are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. No one noticed or corrected the surgical error at the time it was made.

About two weeks after being discharged from the hospital, our medical malpractice client began experiencing nausea. She started vomiting and discovered that while she felt the need to urinate, she could not do so.

A trip to the emergency room and another CT scan showed liquid pooling the woman’s abdomen and swelling of her left kidney. Hospital staff used a needle to drain the excess liquid and installed a nephrostomy tube and bag so her kidneys would empty without sickening the woman.

A repair surgery could not be performed for another three months.


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Key Legal Strategy

Our medical malpractice attorney consulted with three gynecology experts who concurred that the surgical team that performed his client’s hysterectomy failed to meet usual standards of care. The experts’ opinions that, in essence, there was no good excuse for the defendant gynecologist to have cut the woman’s ureter and depositions taken from members of the surgical team made a strong case for the woman suffering an avoidable injury because her gynecologist acted negligently.

The defendant gynecologist and her medical malpractice insurance company agreed to settle the case without going to trial. Our client received $300,000 with the stipulation that she and her legal team keep the parties’ names and other details confidential.

Abdominal surgeries, especially hysterectomies, expose patients to significant risks for cut ureter and perforated intestine injuries. Such surgical mistakes can be deadly, as infections develop quickly and injured patients can literally become poisoned by their own bodily waste. As medical malpractice attorneys in Virginia, we welcome opportunities to hold careless and negligent surgeons accountable for putting patients’ lives in peril.

Date: April 24, 2013

Staff: Staff attorney