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Baltimore Law Blog

A 31-year-old medical student who reported to a Baltimore emergency room with complaints of pelvic pain received some shocking news. Three weeks earlier, she had undergone surgery to remove a benign cyst from her left ovary. Instead of the cyst, scans revealed her right ovary and fallopian tube were removed and the cyst remained. The doctor who performed the surgery is now facing a medical malpractice lawsuit for the error.

The woman had undergone a supposed cystectomy last September at Baltimore's St. Agnes Hospital to remove the cyst, which was discovered during her pregnancy a few years earlier. A prior ultrasound revealed the cyst was still present after her pregnancy, leading to the recommendation to have it removed to avoid future problems. The doctor then arranged to perform the procedure, but she allegedly acted negligently by removing the patient's right ovary and fallopian tube without consent.

Post-surgery the woman visited her doctor on two separate occasions with concerns over her continued abdominal pain. The doctor didn't admit any mistake or inform her that her ovary was removed. The woman did not discover what had actually happened until her visit to the emergency room. She now faces a second surgery to remove the cyst and could be at risk for infertility due to the lost ovary.

The wronged patient and her husband have filed a medical malpractice suit against the doctor in Baltimore Circuit Court. They seek unspecified damages due to the doctor operating on the wrong body part, neglecting to obtain the patient's consent for the ovary removal, and causing damage to their marriage. The woman states that she experiences continued anxiety over her impending second surgery and the impact of the ovary removal on her future ability to become pregnant.

Doctors and other healthcare providers should be trustworthy. Even if the outcome is less extreme than an erroneously removed body part, when a health care professional is negligent or otherwise fails to provide adequate care, there may well be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Cases involving medical issues can be intricate and technical, but an attorney experienced in all aspects of medical malpractice claims may provide important support and assist in fighting to hold negligent parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Suit claims doctor wrongly removed healthy ovary," Tricia Bishop, Sept. 26, 2011

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