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Legal: Was this laparoscopy unnecessary?

An unnecessary laparoscopy.

A Maryland woman, in her mid-40s, went to her gynecologist with complaints of pelvic pain. After an ultrasound revealed an ovarian cyst, the physician recommended surgery to explore the source of the pain and possibly remove the cyst and ovaries. After this procedure, the patient was diagnosed with a colon perforation. She required a colostomy and two additional surgeries, had a bowel obstruction, rectal vaginal fistula, and scarring.

In the lawsuit against her gynecologist, the woman claimed the procedure was unnecessary and perforation was negligent.

The physician argued that the operation was necessary to address and determine the cause of the patient's pain, and that the perforation was due to the patient's diverticulitis and did not occur during the procedure.

Department editor DAWN COLLINS, JD, is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, CA. She welcomes feedback on this column via e-mail to DawnCF@aol.com