Zurawski v. Defendant Obstetrician/Gynecologist

  • Circuit Court of Cook County, IL (Judge Lorna E. Propes)06/17/2013
    Client: Defendant Obstetrician/Gynecologist
    Outcome: Verdict in Favor of Defendant

Synopsis:

On January 17, 2009, defendant obstetrician/gynecologist performed a hysterectomy with salpingo oophorectomy for Mrs. Zurawski at suburban Chicago hospital for complaints of painful cramps and excessive bleeding. During the surgery, defendant obstetrician/gynecologist encountered adhesions, and converted the surgery to a supracervical hysterectomy. She also placed a piece of Seprafilm, an adhesion barrier, over the cervical stump.

Over a month following the surgery, Mrs. Zurawski developed signs and symptoms of an infection, which defendant obstetrician/gynecologist treated with antibiotics. She also obtained a CT scan which showed a debris pocket near an old hernia site. Mrs. Zurawski then transferred treatment to a Chicago hospital, where a second obstetrician/gynecologist discovered a vaginal fistula, which the defense contended was formed as a result of an infection, a recognized complication of surgery. He also found what he described as mesh like pieces of plastic at the site of the old hernia repair.

Mrs. Zurawski alleged that as a result of excessive use of electrocautery during the surgery, she developed a vaginal/peritoneal fistula that resulted in an abscess and prolonged infection, pain, and subsequent surgical treatment at the second hospital in April and May 2007. The plaintiff also alleged that defendant obstetrician/gynecologist improperly used Seprafilm, an adhesion barrier, which she claimed prevented the fistula from healing. Mrs. Zurawski also claimed that she developed hot flashes, painful sex, and a number of other maladies relating to removal of her ovaries, which she claimed she would not have had removed had she known the consequences of removal of her ovaries.

The defense contended that defendant obstetrician/gynecologist complied with the standard of care in the performance of the hysterectomy, properly treated the patient for complaints following the surgery and properly obtained informed consent for the removal of the ovaries, and that defendant obstetrician/ gynecologist care and treatment did not cause Mrs. Zurawski's injuries. The plaintiff’s attorney requested an award of $750K on behalf of plaintiff.

The jury returned its verdict for the defense in approximately 45 minutes.