There is no doubt that the human body is complex. The way in which the nervous, muscular, respiratory, reproductive, circulatory, digestive and skeletal systems work together is incredible. This complexity is why the average individual is forced to rely on a doctor’s care when medical issues arise.
When doctors fail to uphold their duty of care in Ohio, medical malpractice lawsuits are a way to compensate these innocent victims for the damages they suffer. Due to the intricate working of the body mentioned above, expert testimony is often required to explain what went wrong. In some cases, a negligent act is so obvious that it requires no explanation — like attaching a woman’s intestines to her reproductive system.
As if suffering from severe constipation and colonic inertia were not enough for the woman in this case, when she sought medical help things only got worse. Instead of removing the affected portion of her small intestine and reattaching it to the rectum, the surgeon redirected the digestive tract through the woman’s vagina.
Knowing that her body’s waste was leaving her body in such a way caused her to develop conversion disorder, which is a psychiatric issue related to severe stress. The surgical error and the corrective procedure also left her with complications including blurred vision, impaired speech, erratic hand movements and overall weakness on the left side of her body.
This obvious occurrence of negligence is referred to as res ipsa loquitur. The Latin phrase loosely translates to “the thing speaks for itself.” While this theory is often used in cases involving a foreign object left behind during surgery, the appeals court ruled that it is also applicable under these circumstances, shifting the burden of proof to the defendant.
“It requires no expert testimony to understand that feces are not meant to be excreted from the vagina and that such an injury does not ordinarily occur in the absence of a negligent act or omission during a surgical procedure,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Vaginal Defecation Suit Will Go to Trial,” Jeff D. Gorman, Sept. 9, 2013