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Woman has to have uterus removed after doctor botches routine procedure

A report released by Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall today outlined how a doctor botched a routine procedure, which then led to a woman needing to have her uterus removed.

A file image of surgeons operating on a patient in a hospital. Source: 1 NEWS

According to the report, the woman first visited the doctor wanting treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding and contraceptive options.

“The doctor recommended thermal ablation (removal of a thin layer of tissue in the uterus) to control the heavy bleeding and an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD),” the report states.

“Following the thermal ablation procedure, the woman began experiencing severe contraction-like pain and sought further treatment from the doctor at the public hospital where the doctor also worked.”

During the follow-up, the doctor diagnosed the IUCD was the cause of the pain and had it removed.

After returning home the woman’s pain became more severe and she called an ambulance to take her back to hospital.

Once there she was found to have suffered a thermal injury to her uterus during the earlier thermal ablation procedure.

“This resulted in the woman undergoing a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), bilateral salpingectomy (removal of one or more of the fallopian tubes), a Hartmann’s procedure (removal of part of the colon and/or rectum) and an associated stoma (diversion of the bowel to an opening in the abdominal wall).”

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall says aspects of the services provided to the woman by the obstetrician/gynaecologist were inadequate and breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.

"A woman has suffered an extremely unfortunate outcome as a result of damage during an apparently routine procedure," Wall says.

Wall says the obstetrician/gynaecologist should have proceeded with caution when she encountered difficulties during the ablation procedure, and should have documented the complications that occurred.

The DHB involved has agreed to undertake an audit of its clinicians’ private gynaecology patients who are referred or transferred to the public hospital for review, to ensure that they have been referred to and admitted by the acute team in accordance with its updated policy.

The doctor provided a written apology to the woman.