Legal: Claims of unnecessary hysterectomy

September 1, 2008

Woman with abdominal pain and history of prior surgeries was given unnecessary hysterectomy.

A Georgia woman went to her gynecologist with complaints of abdominal pain at age 25. She had a history of abdominal pain with prior surgeries, including removal of her gallbladder, and had a prior workup for pelvic pain while in the armed forces, resulting in a discharge from her duties due to her condition. The gynecologist recommended an exploratory laparoscopy to identify the cause of her pain, looking for fibroids or endometriosis. He indicated the possibility of hysterectomy and/or removal of her ovaries, depending on his findings. During the operation the pathology report was negative for fibroids and the physician decided to proceed with hysterectomy due to the patient's symptoms suggestive of significant endometriosis and enlarged pelvic veins. Although the patient was initially pain free following the operation, her pain returned after about 5 months.

The patient then sued the gynecologist claiming the hysterectomy was unnecessary, failed to resolve her pain, and made her unable to have children.

The physician claimed that the patient was informed prior to surgery of the possibility of a hysterectomy, she had been pain free for several months, and her current pain was not related to his care. A defense verdict was returned.