Gynaecology Surgery Claim
When you have treatment or surgery for a gynaecological problem, there can be complications. This may be when you decide that you need guidance from a gynaecological negligence solicitor as to whether there may be a claim.
What is Gynaecology?
Gynaecology is the branch of medicine concerned with diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions affecting the female reproductive system. Most negligence claims in this area arise as a result of complications of investigative and surgical procedures.
Gynaecological disorders come in a lot of different forms. Many of them can lead to needing surgical treatment. Some of the common gynaecological conditions that can lead to a claim for medical negligence are listed here:
- Cervical cancer
- Endometrial cancers (tissue lining the inner cavity of the uterus (or womb).
- Ovarian cancer
- Endometriosis (tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus)
- Fibroids (non-cancerous growths of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop in or around the womb (uterus).
- Gynaecological conditions: general and other
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Termination of pregnancy
- Uterine prolapse
- Vaginal conditions
Gynaecological Surgery Errors
Errors can happen in the best of surgical hands and in circumstances of difficult surgery, the damage may not be avoidable but should be recognised and corrected where possible.
In addition to the usual risks of surgery, gynaecological surgery may also involve risks to fertility and sexual enjoyment. Therefore, women must be properly advised so that they have a clear understanding about the proposed procedure, the possible alternatives and their relative efficacy and risks.
Gynaecological Surgical Procedures
Not all gynaecology diseases require surgery to fix, however a large number may need gynaecological operations to resolve. There are many gynaecology procedures that can be subject to medical negligence.
Here is a comprehensive list of procedures that can relate to gynaecological negligence:
Adhesiolysis. Also known as lysis of adhesions. Cutting of adhesions (scar tissue)
Cervical (Cone) Biopsy. A cervical biopsy is a procedure to remove tissue from the cervix to test for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer
Colporrhaphy. Surgical repair of the vaginal wall. It is used to repair enteroceles (hernias)
Colposcopy. A colposcopy is a simple procedure used to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb at the top of the vagina. It's often done if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in your cervix
Dilation and Curettage (D&C). A dilation and curettage is a surgery to remove abnormal tissues in the uterus.
Endometrial Ablation. Endometrial ablation is a procedure that surgically destroys (ablates) the lining of your uterus (endometrium). The goal of endometrial ablation is to reduce menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely
Endometrial or Uterine Biopsy. An endometrial biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue from the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. This tissue sample can show cell changes due to abnormal tissues or variations in hormone levels
Fluid-Contrast Ultrasound (FCUS). This procedure is an adaptation of a standard pelvic ultrasound. It is used to evaluate the lining of the uterus and the uterine cavity
Hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. Your healthcare provider may also remove one or both ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. In some cases, he or she may remove other parts of the reproductive system
Hysterosalpingography. Hysterosalpingography uses a real-time form of x-ray called fluoroscopy to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes of a woman who is having difficulty becoming pregnant.
Hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy is the exam of the inside of the cervix and uterus using a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a hysteroscope. Your healthcare provider inserts the device through the vagina.
Myomectomy. A myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors, without removing the uterus
Oophorectomy. An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of a woman's ovaries. The surgery is usually performed to prevent or treat certain conditions, such as ovarian cancer or endometriosis.
Pelvic Ultrasound. A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic exam that produces images that are used to assess organs and structures within the female pelvis.
Pelviscopy (Pelvic Laparoscopy). Laparoscopy is a procedure used to check the organs in the belly (abdomen). It can also check a woman’s pelvic organs.
Selective Salpingography. This X-ray test is used to identify fallopian tube disease or obstructions. A fine catheter is passed into the fallopian tube, then dye is injected to look for abnormalities or obstructions
Toluidine Blue Dye Test. This test is used to evaluate abnormal changes in the vulva. The dye is applied on the vulva and causes skin with precancerous or cancerous changes to turn blue.
Trachelectomy. Surgical removal of the cervix (but not the rest of the uterus). A radical trachelectomy is the removal of the cervix and surrounding tissue, along with some pelvic lymph nodes.
Tubal Ligation. Surgery to cut, cauterize, or band the fallopian tubes to prevent the egg from being transported to the uterus. Tubal ligation is designed to be a permanent method of birth control. Although certain types of tubal ligations can be reversed, the reversal procedure may not be successful.
Uterine (artery) Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fibroid tumours of the uterus which can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and pressure on the bladder or bowel.
Vulvectomy. Vulvectomy is a surgery to remove some or all of your outer genitals. The surgery is done to remove diseased areas such as cancer, precancer, or lichen sclerosus.
Gynaecological negligence can lead to devastating physical injury and immense psychological trauma. The effects can be far reaching and permanently alter the quality of life for the victim and her partner.
Some of the injuries that can be sustained include:
- Incontinence following surgery
- Perforation of the uterus during the insertion of a contraceptive coil
- Failed sterilisation
- Damage during laparoscopic investigations or surgery
- Injury to bladder, bowel or uterus during hysterectomy
- Unnecessary hysterectomy or uterine rupture following a caesarean section
- Infection resulting in loss of childbearing potential
Claiming for Gynaecological Negligence
When you have experienced negligence in this area, it can be difficult to know what to do next, and claiming for medical negligence may be a step closer to getting what you deserve.
Deborah Powlesland has a particular interest in gynaecological negligence claims. She has acted in cases of failed sterilisation, delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer, ureter damage during hysterectomy and failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy.