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Cut or Nicked Ureter; Questions about Medical Malpractice During Laparoscopic or Da Vinci Surgery

What is a cut or nicked ureter?  The ureter is the tube that connects each kidney to the bladder. A ureter can be cut or nicked during a laparoscopic surgery.   When a doctor opts for laparoscopic surgery, he uses a laparoscope. The doctor only has to make a small incision to perform the surgery but that makes it harder for the doctor to see what he is doing.  He has to rely on a telescopic rod lens that is connected to a video camera.  Some doctors are using the da Vinci robotic device instead of laparoscopes, which has also been known to perforate or nick a ureter.   Any doctor can nick or cut your ureter and not even know it. If your doctor cuts or nicks the ureter, but recognizes the mistake while you are still in surgery, they may avoid what is considered medical malpractice. That is, mistakes are known to occur, and if the doctor appreciates the mistake and takes care of it during the operation, you may suffer harm, but it may not rise to the level of a viable medical malpractice claim.

{Click here to learn more about the link between severed ureter injuries and laparoscopic surgeries}

In stark contrast, the doctor that accidentally cuts a ureter and fails to appreciate it or conduct appropriate testing, leaving you with serious and life-threatening complications, may have committed a violation of medical standards and may be liable for medical malpractice.  This type of hospital malpractice injury happens very often and the poor victim is sewed up and sent home only to return a few days later in terrible pain.

Our Virginia (VA) personal injury lawyers have firsthand knowledge of just how painful the recovery from this type of surgical malpractice injury can be.  Some victims have been known to get sepsis and some have died from the serious complication.  Even if you are lucky enough not to get sepsis many patients need to stay in the hospital for at least two weeks. Catheters are inserted and intravenous antibiotics, fluids, and pain relievers are given. Cut ureter victims may need to limit their physical activity and dietary intake for several months to promote full recoveries.  Usually this includes having a needle in your back with a tube to a bag that is strapped to your legs to collect your urine (nephrostomy bag) for three months.

If all this sounds painful and unnecessary it is.  Often, the main surgical error and resulting damage is not because the surgeon cut the ureter or punctured the bowel, but that he or she failed to realize an incision or puncture was made.  When this happens retaining an experienced Virginia (VA) medical malpractice attorney is in order.   Our team of attorneys has conducted research on the applicable medical malpractice standards of care in gynecologic surgery for many previous clients.  We have handled many of these cases, the most recent cut/perforated ureter malpractice case was settled for $725,000.

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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