Robotic Hysterectomy Lawsuit: $1.5M Settlement

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Internal injuries during robotic-assisted hysterectomy lead to several surgeries for 63-year-old woman

The plaintiff suffered injury to her duodenum and superior mesenteric vein during a robotic-assisted hysterectomy. She required four additional surgeries to repair the damage caused during the hysterectomy.

On 4/18/08, the plaintiff underwent a hysterectomy with the defendant. It was noted that a 1 cm tear was present in the transverse colon and the defendant documented that she repaired the area of bleeding. The defendant wrote in the records that she checked for any bleeding or leaking areas at the end of the procedure and there were none.

Following the surgery, the plaintiff complained immediately of significant abdominal pain and had a distended abdomen. The following morning, the defendant noted that her pain was disproportionate to the surgery performed. A CT was then performed that showed a suspected perforation in the colon. The plaintiff was taken back to the operating room to evaluate the bowel injury. A tear was found in the lower portion of the stomach, and a general surgeon was called into the operating room. Despite the defendant having indicated she repaired the area of bleeding in the first procedure, the general surgeon could not find any sutures at the site of injury. A vascular surgeon had to be called in to assist in defining the extent of the damage done during the first procedure.

The plaintiff has undergone four additional surgeries to repair the damage. The plaintiff had an expert prepared to testify that an injury of such a severe degree cannot happen if the physician takes care to avoid major structures in the abdomen. The expert was further expected to testify that the defendant did not properly inspect the abdomen prior to closure preventing her from repairing the damage during the initial procedure. It was the expert’s opinion that the injury to the duodenum and superior mesenteric vein could only have occurred while the defendant was performing the surgery and the injuries should have been found.

The defendant was prepared to offer expert testimony that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are a risk of the procedure performed and was not as a result of any negligence on the part of the defendant.

The case settled after mediation for $1,500,000.

Lubin & Meyer attorney Robert M. Higgins represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit. (Worcester Superior Court)

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