Surgeon Pulled Woman's Intestine Out of Her Uterus, She Claims
By Barbara Wallace
LOS ANGELES (CN) - During uterine surgery, a Kaiser surgeon perforated a woman’s uterus and pulled part of her small intestine out through her cervix before realizing what it was, the woman claims in a medical malpractice complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Central District Superior Court.
According to the complaint, Dorothy Ho had uterine surgery performed by a Dr. Doreen Murray because of postmenopausal bleeding. “During the operation, as was later discovered, defendant Murray apparently, in attempts to remove a polyp during the course of the medical surgery, noted a protrusion of tan colored tissue, which defendant Murray then attempted to remove from plaintiff’s cervix. As defendant Murray continued to pull on the tissue, it continued to elongate and when the tissue was sufficiently removed from the vaginal area, it was discovered that the tissue was not of gynecologic origin. Upon further consultation and confirmation with other medical staff, it was determined that defendant had perforated plaintiff’s uterus and instead caused a small bowel injury to plaintiff’s bowel due to a tear in her bowels caused by said surgery,” according to the complaint.
“In this, defendant Murray failed in defendant’s position as a trusted surgeon to perform the surgery with the level of skill, knowledge, and care that other reasonably careful surgeons would use in similar circumstances when confronted with a tissue of unknown origin attached to and protruding from an abnormal growth,” the complaint states.
Next, defendant Murray, "immediately performed" a procedure, "during which a large portion, i.e. approximately 40 cm, of plaintiff's small bowel had to be removed," according to the complaint.
“After the operation, defendant Murray informed plaintiff Ho that despite the complication during the procedure, i.e. perforation and small bowel tear, that plaintiff would make a full recovery and would suffer no further, significant effects from the medical complications from the procedure,” the complaint says. However, Dorothy Ho remained hospitalized for nine days, during which she “suffered from vomiting, abdominal cramping, bloating, and pain, which she was advised were normal complaints arising from such surgery,” according to the complaint.
Dorothy Ho did not learn the full extent of her injuries for four months, during which time she continued to have abdominal pain and needed to take a leave of absence from her job as a Kaiser pharmacist, the complaint says.
Having lost 40 centimeters (about 15.6 inches) of her small bowel, Dorothy Ho’s medical problems continue, including “inability to eat much, inability to eat greasy foods, inability to undertake hikes, [and] travel abroad,” and “major depressive and anxiety disorders,” requiring prescriptions for Xanax, Cymbalta and Ativan, according to the complaint.
Fifteen inches of a woman’s small bowel may be half to most of it, according to the medical treatise Gray’s Anatomy.
Plaintiff is represented by David Lin of Pasadena.