Urinary Tract Injury

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If you undergo any type of pelvic procedure, you have about a one percent chance that you will receive a urinary tract injury. About half of the injuries come from gynecological procedures, with a strong majority of them radical hysterectomies, and the other half are shared from colorectal, general, vascular, and urological surgeries.

Possible complications abound when it comes to the procedure that caused a urinary tract injury, but some are more susceptible than others. The most common reasons for these complications are: the misapplication of a clamp, a suture that was improperly installed, a contamination that leads to a secondary obstruction, and possible resectioning of the ureter. Each of these can be avoided by utilising a medical practitioner that puts specific measures in place to avoid these common missteps. However, even with the best of medical practitioners, there are times where the injury is inevitable and the damage is not compensable.

The best time to find a tear in the urinary tract is when the procedure is being performed. When the doctor is finishing up the procedure, they should be checking for an injury. If there is an injury, it should be appropriately dealt with as soon as possible.

Minor injuries to the urinary tract are a relatively simple item to fix. These injuries are usually only accompanied by a very slight amount of pain, and heal completely themselves without any further complication. One of the most common minor injuries is the inadvertent ligation of the ureter caused by a suture in the wrong place. If this is noticed by an attentive physician, the suture can be removed, and the ureter will heal completely.

Out of ten injuries that are found through the cystoscopy, more than eight will require action to be taken in order to heal fully. If action is not taken, full and complete recovery may not be possible, and the simple and minor injury may turn into something worse, usually a genitourinary fistula. This is a condition that typically requires minor surgery to correct. If still left untreated, there is a significant chance for hydronephrosis of the ureter, which is a blockage that prevents the kidneys from draining into the bladder, and eventually leading to the deterioration of the renal function in the kidneys. Unfortunately, this may happen with absolutely no symptoms. If this is the case, there is a very high probability of infection, kidney failure, and perhaps the need to remove the kidney.

By far, the best time to repair a ureteral injury is intra-operatively. This means that the physician should repair the injury before completing the procedure. Many times, this is beyond the experience of the surgeon, as the surgeon is not a trained urologist. Therefore, whenever there is a risk of ureteral injury during a procedure, there should be care taken, and in certain circumstances, a urologist should be available. If a urinary tract injury does not go noticed during the surgery, the first post-operative symptom will be flank pain, fever, watery vaginal discharge or a combination of these. For the reasons noted above, if any of these symptoms occur, it must be investigated.

If you would like legal advice regarding the circumstances of your urinary tract injury, contact our legal team. You may be eligible for medical negligence compensation.

Our medical negligence lawyers provide representation on a No Win No Fee basis in most cases.

 

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