MS COLLINS is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, California. She welcomes feedback on this column via e-mail. Click on the envelope icon to email.
A review of several lawsuits covering acid solution errors, prolapse, fetal weight, breast cancer diagnosis, and complications following fibroid embolization.
The woman claimed that her injuries caused her to be unable to have sexual intercourse without extreme pain, and she asserted that she experiences discomfort at all times. Additional surgery and complicated procedures had been recommended to alleviate her condition and allow relatively pain-free intercourse.
Ultrasound to assess fetal weight never performed
A TEXAS WOMAN was admitted to the hospital for induction of labor. She had gained 45 lbs during the pregnancy and weighed almost 200 lbs. During the delivery, a shoulder dystocia occurred after the head delivered. The fetus has a brachial plexus injury and mild Erb's palsy.
The woman sued her obstetrician, claiming that because of her weight gain during pregnancy, an ultrasound (U/S) should have been performed prior to induction to determine fetal size and weight.
The physician claimed that U/S is not always accurate, that shoulder dystocia is unpredictable, and that the injury occurred in the absence of any negligence on his part. A defense verdict was returned.
Nerve damage follows vaginal prolapse reconstruction surgery
A 57-YEAR-OLD ILLINOIS WOMAN underwent vaginal prolapse reconstruction surgery that included a pubovaginal sling procedure with graft and repair of grade 2 cystocele and grade 3 rectocele. The operation was performed to address stress incontinence, constipation, vaginal prolapse, the rectocele, cystocele, and an enterocele. During the procedure, 4 to 6 Capio sutures were used to attach the mesh to the sacrospinous ligament. After the surgery, the patient complained of pain, tingling, and weakness in her buttocks and legs. Her physician diagnosed a hematoma and planned conservative treatment while waiting for the hematoma to reabsorb. Ten days after the surgery, the patient's family terminated the services of her physician and she was discharged from the hospital.
That afternoon, she saw a different physician, who referred her to a neurologist for an electromyogram. Partial lumbar plexopathy or proximal sciatic nerve irritation, possibly secondary to suturing, was diagnosed. Several days later, the neurologist performed surgery to remove a suture from the sacrospinous ligament plexus. Many of the woman's neurological symptoms immediately resolved, however, she still has pain, uses a cane to walk, and has a noticeable limp.
The woman alleged negligence by her former physician in failing to diagnose that a suture was causing nerve damage. She claimed that had the suture been removed within 3 days after the reconstruction surgery, no neurological injury would have resulted.
The physician argued that the patient's complaints were addressed in a timely manner in that an U/S was done to rule out deep vein thrombosis and a neurology consult was ordered. A $1,580,256 verdict was returned.