Firm-Wide blog

Ureteral Injuries During Abdominal Surgery

By Burg Simpson
November 28, 2012
2 min read

As I’ve said in prior posts, I talk to people daily about whether or not they may have options for legal recourse after a medical complication occurs. One type of injury that I frequently see is damage to the ureter during abdominal surgery. The ureter is a long tube that connects each kidney to the urinary bladder. There is one on each side, and they can be injured during abdominal surgeries, even in the absence of negligence. Where we tend to see this injury most often is with women undergoing hysterectomy.

Because this injury can happen even with the best of care, it can be extremely difficult to prove that the ureter was injured as the result of surgical negligence. What this means is that the existence of the ureter injury, by itself, is not usually sufficient to prove that negligence occurred. If the injury is discovered and repaired within a reasonable time frame, the care will typically be deemed to meet the minimum required standard. Negligence is more often provable when the injury is not discovered and treated/repaired within a reasonable time.

Delayed diagnosis of a ureteral injury often occurs when a surgeon ascribes the patient’s complaints to the catch-all category “post-operative pain.” While post-operative pain is a normal experience for many surgeries, it is important for patients to be clear in communicating their symptoms to the physician, and equally important for the physician to listen and take seriously the patient’s complaints.

The good news is that, even in cases where there is a delay in making the diagnosis and instituting treatment, most patients make a complete recovery with proper corrective treatment.

Depending on what state you’re in, the extent to which you recover from your injuries may affect the value of any malpractice claim. If you have suffered a post-surgical complication you believe was the result of negligence, you should consult with a qualified attorney as soon as you are able to do so, after your medical needs are addressed.

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