Woman alleges hysterectomy was unnecessary

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 26, 2006, 11:11am

Greenville Regional Hospital

Loretta McElroy of Greenville filed a medical malpractice suit against Gayle Burch, M.D. and Greenville Regional Hospital claiming that she unnecessarily underwent a total hysterectomy.

According to the complaint filed June 16 in Madison County Circuit Court, McElroy became a patient of Burch when she was 27-years-old on Dec. 30, 2003.

She claims that on June 9, 2004, Burch performed a transvaginal ultrasound and a pelvic sonogram and diagnosed her with clusters of ovarian cysts, acute pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis and insisted the only course of medical treatment was a total hysterectomy.

McElroy claims that on June 22, 2004, Burch negligently performed the hysterectomy based solely on the diagnostic tests performed when there were no clinical or diagnostic indications that such a radical surgery was necessary or indicated.

She claims her pelvic sonogram and ultrasound were negative for endometrial masses and subsequent pathology studies of tissue samples from her uterus, ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes indicated no presence of endometriosis.

McElroy also claims Burch negligently misrepresented the diagnostic pre-operative tests performed and based her decision to do the hysterectomy on negligent interpretation of those studies.

The complaint alleges that Burch failed to obtain a second opinion from another qualified physician or surgeon regarding the radical surgical procedure and failed to advise her that there were other, less invasive and more conservative medical option available.

McElroy also claims Burch told her husband and mother that she would die if she did not submit to the hysterectomy.

"Burch enlisted plaintiff's husband and mother to assist her in coercing the plaintiff into a surgical procedure that the plaintiff did not want and which she had already declined," the complaint states.

According to McElroy, she sustained damages in that she is now required to maintain a hormonal replacement regimen and has and will be required to seek and pay for medical services directly related to the unnecessary surgical procedure.

McElroy also claims that she has in the past and will again in the future suffer physical and psychological pain as a result of the surgery.

She claims the hospital allowed Burch to use its operating room to perform a hysterectomy when it knew, or should have known that the procedure was unnecessary and not indicated clinically.

McElroy also claims that Greenville Hospital failed to supervise Burch in the operating room and negligently provided nursing and other employees to assist Burch in the performance of the hysterectomy.

Represented by Robert Gregory of East Alton, McElroy is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus all costs of the suit.

On May 2, Gregory filed a similar suit against Burch on behalf of Donna Hasenmyer of Sorento.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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