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Awarded: $3,000,000

Dr. Katherine Averill performed a laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (“LAVH”) on Shannon Taylor, then 39 years old, in 2007. Ms. Taylor had suffered from menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual cycles. At the time of the surgery Ms. Taylor was earning approximately $45,000 per year as a technical assistant at an aviation company operating at Dulles International Airport. Following removal of the uterus, Dr. Averill stitched Ms. Taylor’s vaginal cuff to her rectum. Following the LAVH, Ms. Taylor suffered from post-operative symptoms including nausea, vomiting, tenesemus (the urge to have a bowel movement), hematochezia (bloody stool), and fever while at Winchester Medical Center. Three days after Dr. Averill’s surgery, Dr. Troy Glembot, a general and bariatric surgeon, was consulted in order to determine the cause of Ms. Taylor’s rectal bleeding. Dr. Glembot testified that an immediate exploratory laparotomy was needed. During his exploratory laparotomy, Dr. Glembot discovered that Dr. Averill had incorporated the rectal wall into her vaginal cuff repair, and the presence of necrotic tissue was noted. An entire line of continuous sutures was holding the two tissues (vaginal tissue and rectal tissue) together. Dr. Glembot removed the sutures and repaired at least two lacerations in the rectal tissue. Dr. Glembot then performed a sigmoid colostomy, which was necessary to divert the stool from the injured area of the rectum and allow healing to take place. Ms. Taylor had to wear the colostomy bag for approximately 75 days. During that time, she suffered complications associated with the colostomy, including retraction, infection and stenosis of the stoma. The colostomy was then reversed. Due to the fact that two operative incisions were made in the same place in her abdomen, Ms. Taylor also suffered from two abdominal hernias, which were repaired through the placement of mesh in her abdominal area. Ms. Taylor testified that the mesh was uncomfortable. The Plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Edward Koch, an OB/GYN, testified that Dr. Averill breached the standard of care by not properly identifying the tissues and the anatomy prior to her placement of sutures. Dr. Koch stated that the stitching of the vaginal cuff occurs during the vaginal portion of the procedure, while the surgeon is looking directly at the vaginal cuff, approximately 18 inches away, rather than through a laparoscope. The defendant produced two expert witnesses, both of whom said that stitches through the rectal wall in an LAVH are a risk of the procedure and that Dr. Averill had committed an “acceptable surgical error.” The medical bills and lost wages incurred by Ms. Taylor were approximately $125,000. The case was tried before Judge Prosser in Winchester, Virginia.

The Complaint requested $3 million. The jury returned a verdict of $3 million. The Plaintiff’s lawyers were Barbara S. Williams and Roger T. Creager.

Offer: None
Defense Attorney: Richard Nagle, Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle

Awarded: $3,000,000

Please note that case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Past successful case results do not guarantee or predict future results.

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