Lamargo vs. Lowe
The rate of uterine cancer is on the uptick across America; consequently, hysterectomies are a much more common procedure than they were ten or twenty years ago. This case involves a complication that the plaintiff claims arose from this operation.
Filed: May 31, 2016
Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois; Cook County
Category: Medical Malpractice; Informed Consent; Hysterectomy; Power Morcellator; Wrongful Death
Plaintiff: The Estate of Rose Mary Lamargo
Defendant(s): Gynecological Cancer Institute Of Chicago; Michael Lowe, M.D.; Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Towards the end of 2013, doctors to Rose Mary Lamargo informed her of the presence of fibroids in her uterus and the need to undergo a hysterectomy. Specifically, they recommended a robotic laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. This is essentially a procedure in conjunction with robotic devices performed distant from the original entry site. The exact device used was a Power Morcellator. Power Morcellators drill up body parts and then removes them. Before this operation, there was no discovery of endometriosis. In other words, there were no uterine particles present beyond the uterus. However, in the early part of the next year, doctors discovered that there were now in fact cancerous masses beyond the original surgical site of the uterus. Thus, the cancer had spread and when she died not long after her estate sued the parties involved for these events. The exact arguments are discussed in the next section.
Claims and Damages:
In the civil suit that followed Lamargo’s death, her estate sued the defendants named above for wrongful death and medical malpractice. The arguments directed against each defendant. For the claim of medical malpractice, here was the estate’s most prominent points: first, the care provided to the decedent was substandard; second, the defendants did not take out all cancerous fibroids from the decedent; third, the defendants did not properly inform the plaintiff of the risks of the operation (namely, the use of Power Morcellators); fourth; the defendants did not properly monitor or train their employees in the care of the decedent.
The plaintiff estate argued that all of these errors caused the death of Rose Mary Lamargo. Also, they produced other injuries including the following:
- Large medical debts
- Short-term pain and discomfort suffered by the decedent prior to her death
- Wrongful death injuries and expenses to the decedent’s estate
- Power Morcellators have gotten increased attention lately. The added scrutiny might help create the image that their usage might inherently create unintended, negative effects.
- One critical dimension to this suit is technique: could the doctor have used a different method to achieve the same end? While laparoscopic surgeries are looked upon favorably for their minimal invasiveness, the treating physician should have also informed the patient of all methods and their attendant risks.
- It is possible that the defendants could argue that any manner of hysterectomy removal would have led to the same conclusion and the plaintiff must be ready to answer this in the negative.
- 735 ILCS 5/2-622
- 740 ILCS 180
- 750 ILCS 65/15
- 735 ILCS 5/13-212
- 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
- 735 ILCS 5/2-1115
- 735 ILCS 5/2-1114
- 735 ILCS 5/2-1205
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured by a Medical Device?
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