Do I have a case for malpractice if the surgeon did not do a thorough job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have a case for malpractice if the surgeon did not do a thorough job?

About 18 years ago, I had a complete hysterectomy and oophorectomy and have been on hormone replacement since then. The reason I had my ovaries removed was because I’ve had several surgeries to remove ovarian cysts throughout my life which were very painful cost me time off work, not to mention costing me lots of money. The surgeon was a gynecologist and he ran a clinic every 2 weeks out of the hospital I worked at. I work in clinics and in the OR with him and he was always trying to beat his time. Last month, I had a kidney stone which warranted an abdominal scan which showed a large cyst on ovarian tissue. Since then I have had a consult with a uro-gynecologist. I’ve had time off work and now I’m facing a lot more time off work because I have to have surgery. I’m a single person and just bought my first home. I don’t know how I’m going to make this work and I shouldn’t have to since my ovarian tissue was supposed

to be gone. My surgery was done vaginally and evidently he was trying to beat his time because he was in a big hurry and missed ovarian tissue. Now I’m facing possible cancer. I have been stressed out mess ever since finding this out not only wondering if it’s cancer but how am I going to make this work financially. And then I get angry because I shouldn’t have to be going through this. Is this considered negligence?

Asked on April 13, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot sue, unfortunately. The problem is, too much time has passed. The statute of limitations, or SOL, which is the time to bring a suit for medical malpractice is two years from when you discovered the harm; depending on when you found out that some ovarian material was missed, you might in theory be time to sue. However, there is also what is called a "statute of repose," which sets an absolute outer or maximum time limit on malpractice suits. In your state, that is six years: in no event can you ever sue for malpractice after six years have passed since the procedure. With the procedure having been done 18 years ago, it is far too late to sue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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