Ohio Woman Sues Gynecologist For Spraying Her Uterus With Drain Cleaner Chemical
In a horrifying bit of news, a 39-year-old woman from Ohio is suing her gynecologist at Paragon Health in Summit County for damage caused to her uterus after he allegedly sprayed it with a chemical meant for drain cleaning.
The woman was supposed to undergo a routine examination at the gynecologist’s office known as a “colposcopy,” or a method by which her gynecologist could view her vulva, cervix, and vagina. The exam is typically done after an abnormal Pap smear, and involves acetic acid like vinegar being squirted onto the cervix. Afterward, the physician uses a colposcope, a microscope, to look at the cervix for any abnormalities. Typically, vinegar has a pH of 2.5 to 5 depending upon its level of dilution, compared to 3.5 to 4.5 in a healthy vagina.
The woman’s gynecologist allegedly sprayed a solution inside her vagina from a spray bottle marked “vinegar.” However, the woman knew immediately that something was wrong, as she felt a “horrible pain and burning,” like an “open cut with rubbing alcohol” poured in. As it turned out, the solution contained potassium hydroxide, a corrosive chemical commonly found in drain cleaners, which may have a pH of 12 to 14. Experts note that potassium hydroxide is never intended to go inside the body and can decompose skin if sprayed on.
There is no word as to how the gynecologist made the mistake of labeling such a chemical “vinegar.” However, once he realized the mistake, he allegedly sought to irrigate the damaged area with three bottles of saline solution, and then applied a numbing cream to the woman’s cervix and vagina. He did so allegedly without putting on gloves, potentially exposing the woman to infections or disease. Hours later, the woman received a phone call instructing her to go immediately to the emergency room. There, doctors discovered a plastic cap for a bottle behind her cervix.
The woman claims that since the accident, she suffers from pain and irregular bleeding. She is unable to have sex with her husband and cannot go swimming with her children. She had hoped to have more children, but now believes that she will need to have a hysterectomy. The woman seeks damages in excess of $25,000 and a jury trial.
Obviously this is a situation that no woman should have to face. While the cause of many birth injuries is often unclear, in this case it appears that the gynecologist definitely breached his duty of reasonable care to his patient. However, the facts will become better known (such as if a third party might have been responsible for putting the wrong solution in the bottle) as the case progresses. If you live in Maryland and experience damage to your reproductive system due to preventable medical error, contact a Baltimore birth injury attorney to learn how you can obtain relief.
Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman has more than 100 years of collective experience dealing with medical malpractice and birth injury cases. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the firm represents residents in Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you have a birth injury or other medical malpractice issue, contact us today for a free consultation.