Ureter injury during laparoscopy

April 17, 2008

A 39-year-old California woman went to her gynecologist in 2004 for complaints of heavy painful menses, painful intercourse, and low libido. Conservative treatment was tried but the symptoms persisted and roughly a year later she underwent a laparoscopy. A uterosacral nerve ablation was performed on the ligament the physician thought was causing or contributing to the symptoms. The patient suffered damage to her ureter that required subsequent repair surgery.

A 39-year-old California woman went to her gynecologist in 2004 for complaints of heavy painful menses, painful intercourse, and low libido. Conservative treatment was tried but the symptoms persisted and roughly a year later she underwent a laparoscopy. A uterosacral nerve ablation was performed on the ligament the physician thought was causing or contributing to the symptoms. The patient suffered damage to her ureter that required subsequent repair surgery.

The woman sued the gynecologist and claimed that there was a lack of informed consent and negligence in injuring the ureter. The physician denied any negligence in the operation and maintained that ureter damage was a known complication of the procedure the patient had consented to. A defense verdict was returned.

—Department Editor Dawn Collins, JDMs. Collins is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, CA.
She welcomes feedback on this column via email to DawnCF@aol.com.