Abdominal and pelvic operations, such as hysterectomies, can be complicated by surgical errors that are the result of medical negligence or malpractice. A common surgical error is injury to one or both ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder). If the surgeon fails to properly identify, and protect, the ureters, injury may result. In that situation, the ureter can become entrapped, transected, or damaged by the heated instrument the surgeon uses to remove the uterus from the abdominal cavity.
Ureteral injuries may not be discovered during the surgery, or even during the patient’s post-surgery recovery in the hospital. Unfortunately, it is often not until the patient presents to her treating physician, days or weeks after the surgery, with complaints of flank pain, fever, abdominal distention, prolonged intestinal backup, or watery vaginal discharge that the injury is discovered.
A delay in diagnosis of ureteral injuries can be associated with significant issues, including the formation of a ureterovaginal fistula (an abnormal passageway between ureter and the vagina that presents as urinary incontinence) or even loss of kidney function. Treatment varies depending on the location, type and extent of the injury and when the injury was discovered.
What Can You Do?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury, such as a ureter injury, as a result of a surgical error or other medical mistake, it is important to explore your legal rights and see if you have a medical claim. Call our medical malpractice lawyers at 616.278.0888, complete our Free Consultation Form or email us to learn more about compensation to which you may be entitled.