Hysterectomy Risks and Liabilities


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Introduction

Hysterectomy Liability Risks

Nearly 500,000 women get hysterectomies every year in the U.S. It is the second most common surgery after childbirth by caesarian delivery. From 2006 to 2010, 11.7 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 44 had a hysterectomy.

Even though the death rate from hysterectomy is low, surgical complications occur and can result in infection, hemorrhage during or following surgery, and/or damage to internal organs such as the urinary tract or bowel.

 

The four conditions most often associated with a need for hysterectomy are uterine fibroids, menstrual disorders, uterine prolapse, and endometriosis. However, the reasons for hysterectomy differ by age. The primary diagnosis for women ages 35 to 54 is uterine fibroids while the most common diagnosis for women ages 55 or older is either uterine prolapse or cancer.

 

Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, risk managers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with injuries related to hysterectomies.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed to recover for an injury related to a hysterectomy? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for an injury related to a patient’s hysterectomy? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the patient’s hysterectomy-related injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?  

Employers:

Can an employer of a physician or other health care provider be subject to liability for a patient’s hysterectomy-related injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?

Risk Managers:

Can a risk manager prevent liability or mitigate damages for a violation of an employment law or regulation protecting an employee who undergoes a hysterectomy? And, what is a potential strategy for the risk manager to use?  


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s malpractice liability for negligence involving a hysterectomy.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician should consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence involving a hysterectomy.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of malpractice or negligence involving a hysterectomy.

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for a worker’s injury related to a hysterectomy? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?

Risk Managers:

Can a risk manager prevent liability or mitigate damages for an injury related to employee’s hysterectomy? And, what is a potential strategy for the risk manager to use?

Expert Analysis

What Harm Results from Unnecessary Hysterectomy?

Cynthia A. Pearson
Executive Director, National Women’s Health Network

How Did a Benign Cyst Removal Turn into a Total Hysterectomy? 

Nora W. Coffey
Founder and President, Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation


Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons To Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, employer, or risk manager would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons To Go To Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, employer, or risk manager would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving hysterectomies? 

 


Medical Examples

Hysterectomy

This section provides detailed medical information on hysterectomies, when a hysterectomy is necessary or contraindicated, the pre-surgical tests and procedures, the types of hysterectomy surgery, the hysterectomy procedure, the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, side effects and complications, and alternatives to hysterectomy. Also discussed is the woman’s prognosis and ability to work after a hysterectomy. 



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on hysterectomy. 




Hysterectomy Risks and Liabilities

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Cynthia A. Pearson
   Nora W. Coffey

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorney Perspective
   Physician Perspective
   Insurer Perspective
   Employer Perspective
   Risk Manager Perspective

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist
   Risk Manager Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons To Reach Settlement

Reasons To Go To Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Hysterectomy

Law and Medicine Resources