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Army Doctor's Anesthesia Error And Failure To Recognize Cause Of Inability To Urinate Causes Permanent Damage To Bladder Requiring Reconstruction Surgery

  1. G., the wife of an Army Sergeant, underwent abdominal laparoscopic surgery for the removal of ovarian cysts at the U.S. Army Hospital in Nuremberg, Germany. During the operation, her bowel was perforated and then repaired.

After the surgery, R.G. was not urinating and the doctors thought that not urinating was due to dehydration. She was given large amounts of IV fluids but still was not urinating. Although she complained of severe pain in her pelvis, a sensation of a full bladder, and the inability to urinate for four days, R.G. was sent home from the hospital.

She returned to the hospital emergency room the next day because she was still in pain and unable to urinate. A catheter was inserted through her urethra into her bladder and 2.5 liters of urine were drained. She was sent home. The next day, she came back to the ER, and was catheterized again, expelling almost another liter of urine. By then, however, her bladder had become so over-distended permanent nerve damage to the bladder had occurred.

Her urinary bladder became incontinent (unable to control the outflow of urine) and she was never able to control her bladder function again. She developed recurrent urinary tract infections. A surgical procedure to reconstruct her urinary bladder was attempted but her bladder problems were not improved.

A claim was filed for R.G. under the Military Claims Act because the hospital staff and doctors failed to recognize that her inability to urinate was caused by the anesthesia she was given during her operation and not by dehydration. Failing to catheterize her and giving her huge quantities of IV fluids had destroyed her bladder.

Her case resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement with the U.S. Army Claims Service after the doctor who attempted to repair her bladder informed the Army that its negligence caused her to suffer permanent loss of bladder function.

Note: The example above are some of the military medical malpractice cases we have handled in the past. Case outcomes and results depend upon many factors that are unique to each case. Past results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Swartz & Reed. These examples merely provide a framework for understanding the kinds of cases we undertake.