On February 2, 2009, Michelle Zarick underwent a da Vinci robot-assisted hysterectomy (a surgical procedure that would remove the whole or a part of the womb) at the recommendation of her Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor, Dr. Rita Biesen-Bradley. The surgery was intended to remove the fibroids (benign or non-cancerous tumors) that grew in her uterine wall and which have caused her agonizing pains, especially during her periods.
She stayed two days at the hospital after the procedure and was advised to have a four to six week-recovery period at home. Five weeks after the surgery, as Zarick was using the restroom, she felt like something “popped” in her body. As she looked down, she was shocked at the sight of her intestines protruding from her organ.
In a hysterectomy, stitches are made at the top of the patient’s vagina after the removal of the uterus and the cervix. Stitches or sutures are basic in surgical procedures. No matter which part of the patient’s body is operated on, that part will have to be sutured before the surgery can be completed.
Sutures are required for the proper healing of the treated skin, organ, nerve or tissue. Before the introduction of the da Vinci robot in the year 2000, all surgeries (called open surgeries) and surgical site-suturing were done by surgeons; thus, any error that would occur would be tagged as human error.
Improper suturing is a serious medical error that can cause the incision site to reopen or be infected; either way, it means severe harm and pain for the patient. This medical error is usually a result of using the wrong instruments or lack of training (one probable cause of the severe complication suffered by Zarick may be the surgeon’s lack of training or experience in using the da Vinci robot); it may also be a case of simple negligence on the part of the surgeon. Its result can vary from tissue or organ damage, paralysis, scarring or disfigurement, coma and (definitely) a corrective surgery, additional medical cost, great pain and trauma.
It took another surgery, about six seeks of recovery period and a really large scar that spanned from one of Zarick’s hips to another. The scar on her abdomen would now be a constant reminder of her horrifying experience from what was supposed to be a perfectly accurate and precise surgical procedure.
The website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, reminds victims of medical errors of their legal rights to fight for financial compensation in the event a negligent act by their surgeon.Read More