The Common Surgery that Can Be Uncommonly Dangerous
Hysterectomy surgery--in which a woman's uterus is removed--is an extremely common surgery. Tens of thousands of American women have this operation done every year. Over the last several decades, improvements in equipment and techniques have made this operation much safer and easier on the women patients. But only when the techniques are actually used, and only when the new equipment is used correctly.
Nowadays hysterectomy surgery is routinely performed either entirely or partially with a laparoscope, which is a small flexible tube through which the gynecologist can insert a camera and various surgical tools. The advantage of doing a surgery “laparoscopically” is that the woman’s belly does not have to be cut open. The surgery can be done with only small incisions through which the flexible laparoscopy tube is inserted. The disadvantage is that the gynecologist cannot see the entire woman’s anatomy at once, only what the camera is pointed at.
Safety Rules Should Prevent Injury
By now all gynecologists are trained in methods to make certain that they do not injure a woman during this operation. The chief way of doing this is a basic rule of surgery, which is “never cut or sew anything unless you are certain that you know what it is”. It is never OK to cut or sew shut a part of a patient’s body without identifying what you are cutting or sewing.
Most Common Injuries: Bowel, Bladder and Ureters
Unfortunately, medical malpractice happens way too often in hysterectomy surgery. The most common injuries that we see in our clients who have been hurt by gynecologist medical malpractice are injuries to the woman’s bowels or to her bladder or ureters. The ureters are tubes which carry a person’s urine from the kidney’s to the bladder. They can be close to a woman’s uterus when a gynecologist is doing a hysterectomy, and if the gynecologist isn’t paying proper attention, they can be injured—or even destroyed. Other gynecologist surgery malpractice cases we have seen in hysterectomy surgery involve injuries to the woman’s bladder or bowel.
These types of injuries are almost always gynecologist medical malpractice. Gynecologists are trained to make certain that they know where the ureters (and the bladder and the bowels) are before they cut anything. They are also trained on what do if they can’t be certain of where these organs are. There are dyes and stents and xray equipment that will make it impossible to make these mistakes—but only if the gynecologist takes the time to use them.
We have seen the results of gynecologist malpractice during hysterectomy surgery, and they can be devastating. Injuries to the ureters and bladder often require multiple additional surgeries and months of embarrassing and dangerous external bags to collect urine from the injured woman’s body. Injuries to the bowels can be even worse: we’ve had clients who were in the hospital for months because of these injuries.
All because a gynecologist didn’t follow a basic rule of surgery.