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$3 Million Virginia (VA) Medical Malpractice Verdict Highlights Botched Hysterectomy Dangers

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Jurors sided in favor of a Shannon E. Taylor, a medical malpractice victim, and awarded her $3 million plus legal interest. The verdict was reached after a four-day trial in Winchester Circuit Court. Barbara Williams of Leesburg, VA did a fine job representing Taylor in this case.

Dr. Katherine Averill and Winchester Womancare were found liable for the injuries Taylor suffered during a hysterectomy she underwent in 2007.

A statutory cap on medical malpractice awards limits how much Taylor could receive, according to the defendant’s attorneys. Virginia caps damages in medical malpractice cases to $1.5 million as of the date that the malpractice in question occurred.

Judge Prosser said he would allow the defendants 60 days to file post-trial motions and in the meantime delay entering the judgment. Richard L. Nagle, one of the defense lawyers, indicated they will file a motion to set aside the verdict or reduce the jury award so it would fall within the statutory limit.

Judge Prosser urged both parties to try and negotiate a settlement.

Dr. Averill “negligently, grossly negligently, and recklessly breached her duty of care to the Plaintiff Taylor,” during and after performing the laparoscopically-assisted vaginal hysterectomy, according to the complaint filed on April 29, 2009.

The suit claimed, “Dr. Averill used material from Taylor’s anterior rectal wall rather than peritoneal tissue to restore the vaginal cuff following the removal of her uterus. As a result, Taylor sustained lacerations and injuries to the anterior rectal wall and rectum.”

The complaint further states that prior to finishing the procedure, Dr. Averill failed to adequately determine the placement of the sutures and allegedly didn’t take the proper steps to “follow up with, treat and timely remedy Taylor’s condition, injuries and status.”

Three days post-op, Taylor underwent emergency surgery, to remove the sutures, repair the vaginal cuff and two or more lacerations in the anterior rectal wall.

Hysterectomies are performed on many women, for a broad variety of reasons and can be performed in a number of ways including laprascopically. However, in some cases the surgeries can involve cut, torn, lacerated anatomy.

In fact, a laparoscopic surgical procedure malpractice may have been involved in late Congressman Murtha’s death. Rep. Murtha went in for Laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery but suffered complications after the procedure. The complications apparently stemmed from when the surgeon accidentally cut his intestines causing an infection to develop.

To get more information about perforation injuries during surgical procedures, check out these videos and articles:

Video: Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Talks About Laparoscopic Injuries

Perforated Bowel Injury Symptoms

In-Depth Report on Common Surgical Errors

About the Edtors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases, and provides this information pro bono. Please take a moment to review our medical malpractice case results and visit our blog dedicated exclusively to medical malpractice and surgical error issues.

2 Comments

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  1. HERS Foundation says:
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    Shannon Taylor suffered tremendous pain and suffering not only from the negligence of the doctor, but from the damaging effects of hysterectomy.

    If all had gone well, and if she had not been further injured by lacerations to her rectal wall, she would still experience the losses and damage caused the removal of her hormone responsive reproductive sex organs. Women who experience uterine contractions during orgasm will not experience them after hysterectomy. During the surgery the vagina is shortened, made into a closed pocket, and sutured shut at the top of the vagina.

    When the uterus is removed women have a 3X greater incidence of cardiovascular disease, and when the ovaries are removed the incidence is 7X greater.

    Justice would be undoing the damage done to Taylor, which is not possible, but this is a legal victory. Kudos to Shannon Taylor and her superb legal team.

  2. Heidi Dodson says:
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    I also had an unnecessary hysterectomy. It has ruined my life! I lost my 21 yr career, finances are in shambles, and marriage is hanging by a thread. My lawyer says I have a solid case but the county we live in, we probably won’t win. Are you kidding me? I am now on temporary disability and trying to get Government disability. That bastard needs stopped and exposed. I have a very solid neglect case. This doc VIOLATED EVERY SINGLE RULE IN THE BOOK. But just becasue the Jury likes him, I can’t get compensated for what he has done to me? My time runs out Aug 15 of this year. Thanks Heidi Dodson and if you are interested in helping me, i would be grateful. my lawyer is ready to take on some help if he could. my fone # is 918.850.2962