Gynecologists diagnose and treat a number of reproductive ailments. They help women make important decisions regarding their reproductive health. The choices that a gynecologist makes can have long-lasting impacts on women’s health overall. Any errors they make in diagnosis and treatment can lead to severe injuries or death. It is the mission of our experienced Chicago gynecologist malpractice attorneys to make sure that the women who suffer due to poor medical care can recover the compensation that they need to pay for the medical treatment they need to move forward with their lives and for any other expenses they have incurred.
Requirements for the Practice of Gynecology
Doctors wishing to pursue a career in gynecology are required to dedicate over a decade to their medical training. They enjoy lucrative pay once they complete their schooling and additional requirements. After completing medical school, aspiring gynecologists must complete four years of residency. It is during this time that they acquire hands-on experience working with a variety of patients in internal medicine with a focus on gynecological practice.
Following the completion of residency, gynecologists must enter a three to four-year fellowship program where they can work with experienced specialists and gain the experience and skills that they will need to perform their duties. It is also during this period that they may choose to pursue a subspecialty by earning certifications in their desired disciplines. Once they have completed their fellowships, gynecologists may take the necessary tests to earn their license to practice in the field of gynecology.
There is a steady demand for qualified OB/GYN specialists. It is estimated that the demand for gynecologists will increase by 18% before 2022, which is a contributing factor toward their lucrative median salary of over $200,000 per year. Those who pursue subspecialties and are members of reputable medical organizations can earn even more.
Our Chicago gynecology malpractice lawyers appreciate the dedication and hard work that is required to practice any specialized form of medicine, but also believe that these highly paid professionals should be accountable for their mistakes and misdeeds.
The Responsibilities of a Gynecologist
Gynecology focuses on women’s reproductive health and covers diseases and injuries to reproductive organs such as the uterus, cervix, vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Those who choose a subspecialty in obstetrician care will also guide patients through pregnancy while addressing any complications that may arise during the pregnancy and immediately after birth. There is a very wide range of procedures and tests that gynecologists may be called upon to perform including the following.
- Breast examinations— there are a number of tests that can be performed to detect the presence of tumors or cancerous masses located in the breasts. These include mammograms, breast MRIs, breast ultrasounds and breast biopsies. Depending on what the doctor is looking for and what he or she already knows, one or more of these tests may be ordered to determine whether a biopsy needs to be taken or additional tests are needed.
- Breast surgeries— depending on the location of a cancerous mass and the risks it poses to the woman’s health, there are a number of surgical procedures that can be performed with a range from breast-conserving surgeries that seek only to remove the lump to a mastectomy, which is the removal of the entire breast.
- Tubal litigation— women seeking permanent birth control can elect to undergo this procedure. It prevents pregnancy by blocking the fallopian tubes so that the eggs are unable to reach the uterus.
- Pelvic ultrasounds— an ultrasound may be ordered to help doctors see a picture of the major reproductive organs. It is created through the reflection of sound waves sent into the pelvis and back to the ultrasound receiver. The resulting image can confirm a diagnosis or reveal the need for further testing.
- Pap tests— routine Pap tests help in the early detection of cervical cancer. This is one of the deadliest forms of cancer due to its propensity to spread rapidly to neighboring organs and tissue. Other reproductive concerns can also be revealed through this test.
- Cystoscopies— women suffering from complications to the urinary tract may need to undergo these tests to determine the cause of pain and discomfort. Doctors are able to view the bladder, urethra and other areas of the urinary tract to locate the source of bleeding, infections, blockages or the presence of cancer.
- Hysterectomies— the removal of the uterus may be needed to treat certain medical conditions, including the presence of cancer. The ovaries and fallopian tubes may be removed along with the uterus. Other reproductive organs may be lost during the procedure as well.
- Endometrial ablation— women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding may undergo this procedure to reduce or completely stop the bleeding. The procedure is only for women who no longer plan on having children, because it will render them sterile.
- Fetal ultrasounds— these ultrasounds allow doctors to monitor the progress of fetuses in pregnant women to determine whether the child is developing properly and to detect any abnormalities.
- Fetal heart monitoring— both during pregnancy and during birth, it is important for doctors to monitor the unborn child’s heart rate while being aware of any signs of distress. An abnormal heart rate can indicate a potentially serious problem, which may need to be resolved through delivering the child via cesarean section.
- Bone density testing— a bone density test can detect early signs of osteoporosis and other bone disorders that are common in women. It detects both the density of bones and their mineral content through the use of x-rays or a special CT scan.
Gynecologist Malpractice may Result in Severe Injury or Death
Where the mistakes most specialists make only impact one patient, the mistakes of a gynecologist can resonate across an entire family. Women trust their reproductive health to these specialists. They can suffer both physical and emotional turmoil when medical malpractice impacts their ability to have children or to have intimate relations with their partners. Poor gynecological care may also harm an unborn child, resulting in birth defects, developmental disorders, or permanent brain damage.
Here are some examples of mistakes and errors that may be considered medical malpractice by a jury.
- Failure to order cancer screenings. Cancers of the cervix and uterus are known to spread rapidly if unchecked. This makes early detection crucial too many women’s survival. The failure of an OB/GYN to order appropriate tests can mean life or death.
- Late diagnosis of medical conditions. Some complications and illnesses are easily treated when patients receive a prompt diagnosis. Yet, treatment but can become quite serious if they are allowed to progress. Aside from cancer, common concerns that come up during pregnancy can injure the child if they are not promptly discovered and addressed.
- Not performing tests properly or misinterpreting the results. Examples of this can include tests that do not result in a thorough examination of all of the key areas of concern such as a pelvic exam that ignores the cervix or the failure of the doctor to investigate an abnormality found during a mammogram or Pap test.
- Injuries to children during or following birth. It is important for doctors to monitor the child for signs of distress and take decisive action when the child’s life is at risk. These actions can include ordering a device-assisted delivery or a cesarean section. Some of the devices used in assisted deliveries can also injure the child, so they must be used with care only by those who have received adequate training.
- Injuries to reproductive organs due to defective devices. There are some procedures that utilize transvaginal mesh devices to help with conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Women have reported complications after these devices caused internal bleeding, organ perforation, and other serious injuries. In other cases, women may be injured by defective surgical tools used in operations, leading to the development or spread of cancer or infection.
These are only some examples of medical errors that can forever change the lives of women affected by poor medical care. In addition to enduring physical suffering, many women are also forced to endure shame and embarrassment when they are no longer able to have children or enjoy normal sexual relations with their loved ones due to their injuries. In other cases, the advancement of cancer into the third or fourth stage means a death sentence.
Sample Gynecology Malpractice Verdicts & Settlements
$795,000 Settlement; Gynecology Malpractice; Chicago, Illinois
The facts that gave rise to this gynecology malpractice case occurred in 2013. A woman in her late 50s went to see her gynecologist. She needed to undergo a LEEP procedure in order to have a cervical biopsy. In a LEEP procedure, doctors use a wire to pull out potentially cancerous cells from a woman’s cervix. The wire usually is electric. Here, the gynecologist allegedly cut the woman’s bowel during the LEEP operation. This caused her pain and required a hysterectomy in order to fix the problem. The woman sued the doctor and facility for negligence. She alleged the pair unreasonably operated on her and were responsible for her suffering, bills, and other losses. The doctor filed an answer to the lawsuit. However, the matter was not put to a jury. Both sides settled to end the dispute. The plaintiff received $795,000 in compensation.
$540,000 Settlement; Gynecology Malpractice; Chicago, Illinois
The plaintiff in this action was forty-four. She sued her gynecologist and surgeon. She alleged that both of them failed to diagnose and treat cancer in her breast. Consequently, she had to undergo mastectomies as well as chemotherapy. This cost her tens of thousands of dollars. She argued that she would only have needed lumpectomies if diagnosed properly. She blamed the resultant pain, disfigurement, and costs on the defendants. Interestingly, she was cancer-free over five years after these procedures. Therefore, the crux of her case was for the isolated gynecology malpractice and resulting harms and expenses. It did not project long-term damages. However, all parties still settled for the sum of $540,000. This figure reflects the invasive and fundamental trauma she endured.
$1,000,000 Settlement; Gynecology Malpractice; Tazewell County, Illinois
This case involved the combined negligence of a gynecologist and anesthesiologist. The patient was in her middle thirties. She was set to have a hysterectomy. Doctors chose to perform it with robotic assistance through the umbilicus. As they cut and entered the abdominal cavity, the tools cut the woman. Blood began to accumulate. However, neither doctor checked or noticed this for over thirty minutes. The bleeding began to intensify. About one hour into surgery, doctors finally used aggressive measures to stop it. However, they were unable to control the situation. She died from complications related to the bleeding. Her husband and three teenage children survived her. They sued the doctors and medical facility for wrongful death from the negligent gynecological care. They claimed the doctors should have prevented or at least controlled the bleeding. They offered a number of measures that would have solved the problem-none of which were taken. The defendants countered that they were not negligent. They claimed that they did not act unreasonably or leave the proper standard of care. Also, the defendants offered that what happened was a known risk-a risk that the patient accepted. Yet, these differences were not hashed out in court. The parties agreed to settle and end the case for the sum listed. This figure was to compensate the family for the pain, sorrow, lost consortium and companionship, as well as expenses from the tragic event.
$500,500 Jury Award; Gynecological Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois.
In this case, the defendant doctor performed a laparoscopic procedure to determine why the patient had bleeding and pelvic pain. During that operation, her bowel was cut. This caused a number of problems. She developed hernias. She suffered mental trauma and PTSD. She also needed a colostomy for a period of time. Several surgeries were required to fix the mess from the original procedure. In the end, she had scars and other disfigurements as a testament to the ordeal. She sued the doctors. Her lawsuit claimed that the laparoscopic operation was unnecessary; that the operation was negligently performed; and that the defendants were responsible for her damages including medical bills (over $100,000), lost income; disfigurement and related economic and non-economic losses. The defendants disagreed. They offered that the treatment was proper for the circumstances. Additionally, they claimed they warned the plaintiff about the risks of the operation. In the end, they also stated that whatever harms the woman sustained had not impacted her life substantially. In essence, they were doubting her damages were as high as she claimed. The two sides were unable to resolve the dispute amicably. A jury was tasked with deciding the affair. They came down on the side of the woman. She received $500,000 for her medical bills ($105,500), suffering ($200,000), lost normal life ($40,000), disfigurement ($25,000), and distress ($130,000).
The Difference an Experienced Gynecologist Medical Malpractice Lawyer can Make
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a leading medical malpractice law firm serving the Chicago area. We owe our success to specialized legal teams that have knowledge and experience working on cases just like your own. We understand that your choice of counsel will be the most important decision you make when pursuing a lawsuit. We can assure you that our medical malpractice team can provide you the greatest possible chance of success because of their extensive experience in medical law.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our award-winning Chicago gynecologist medical malpractice attorneys so that we can let you know more about your legal rights and exactly how we can help you. After reviewing the details of your case, we can let you know the best way to proceed and just what you can expect throughout the entire legal process. If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, you are assured that our services will cost you nothing.