Fibroid removal surgery causes more fertility issues

18 December 2023

In early 2021 our client underwent fibroid removal surgery to aid fertility. Unfortunately the surgeon perforated her uterus once, and her bowel five times, further harming her fertility. The surgery was also unsuccessful in removing the fibroids.
Fibroid removal surgery causes more fertility issues

Simon Towler, medical negligence specialist at Shoosmiths Serious Injury, acted for a client who suffered internal injuries whilst undergoing ‘hysteroscopic resection of fibroids’ - surgery to remove fibroids from the uterus.

In early 2021 our client was undergoing investigations for infertility, and an ultrasound scan revealed that she had two large fibroids in her uterus, which she was recommended to have removed to aid fertility.

During this kind of surgery, a thin telescope, referred to as a ‘hysteroscope’, is used to examine the cavity of the uterus, and small surgical instruments are passed along the hysteroscope to remove the fibroids. The hysteroscope may have to be inserted through the vagina several times to remove as much fibroid tissue as possible.  The surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic.

Complications: uterus and bowel perforation

During the procedure complications arose and the treating surgeon discovered that he perforated our client’s uterus once, and her bowel five times.  A specialist surgeon was subsequently called in and emergency surgery was carried out, including fitting a temporary colostomy to allow time for the bowel to heal.

A colostomy is an operation that creates an opening for the colon through the abdominal wall. The bowel is then rerouted through an artificially created hole, a ‘stoma’, in the abdomen, so that faeces can still leave the body. 

Our client was required to wear the colostomy bag for around nine months and required assistance from her partner.

The consequences and the impact on fertility

Our client already suffered with infertility before the negligent surgery. In our claim, evidence from our experts found that, because of the negligence of the original surgeon, not only were the fibroids not removed, meaning that our client’s fertility is still impaired, but she is now also at increased risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous uterine rupture, should she fall pregnant. This was particularly devastating news as she desperately wanted to start a family.

She will require counselling with regards to her birthing plan, and the prospect of having a Caesarean section. There is now also a risk that the scar tissue on her bowel and uterus will fuse together, causing adhesions.

Our client instructed Simon Towler to investigate the treatment she received during the surgery.

Following a formal Letter of Claim sent to the trust, an admission of liability from the hospital was received, and they admitted that, had our client received appropriate care, she would have avoided the need for a temporary colostomy. They also admitted that, because of the breach of duty, she is at risk of developing adhesions in the future.

The defendant trust has since apologised for the failings in the care they provided. 

Simon Towler comments:

“It was fortunate that the treating surgeon realised their mistake during the original surgery, and that prompt treatment prevented a much worse outcome. A prompt admission also reduced the stress of the litigation and hopefully the claimants wish to start a family will be fulfilled.”



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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