3 Real-Life Cases of Sexual Medical Malpractice

Fear of surgery is a common human reaction. When we are unconscious, anything can happen—our lives are literally in someone else’s hands.

But surgical errors sometimes affect an unborn child or the ability to reproduce—a fate that some victims have called even worse than death.

Virginia sexual surgical mistakes are not only terrifying, but can also have long-lasting physical effects, cause severe emotional trauma, or even leave the victim permanently disabled.

Three real-life stories of sexual surgical malpractice:

  • Delivery mistake. In a 2003 case, Sarah Wallace was a pregnant woman in the early stages of labor at Mid-Jefferson Hospital in Texas. The on-call doctor performed an episiotomy: a small incision to lengthen the vaginal opening. While episiotomies are fairly standard practice, the on-call doctor failed to follow protocol by checking for a recto-vaginal fistula. Wallace did indeed have one of these tears in the tissue between her anus and vagina, and spent the next few days passing stool through her birth canal. Wallace sued the on-call doctor for failing to meet the appropriate standard of care.
  • Unauthorized sex change. In one of the earliest cases of medical malpractice, Christiane Volling of Germany received a permanent sex change operation without her consent. When Christiane was born with indeterminate external genitalia, her parents decided to name her Thomas and raise her as a boy. When Christiane was a teenager, she underwent surgery for appendicitis. During the operation, her surgeon was surprised to find an intact set of ovaries. Without discussing her options with Christiane or her parents, the surgeon simply removed them. Christiane discovered the truth 30 years later, and successfully sued the doctor for performing an illegal operation.
  • Botched vasectomy. Daniel Stalker chose to get a vasectomy after he and his wife were expecting their fourth child. During the routine procedure, Stalker was given a local anesthetic—but told the doctor he could feel intense pain. Stalker's doctor ignored his suffering and continued the operation—until Stalker began vomiting. Moments later, one of Stalker's testicles turned black and swelled to twice its normal size. As a result of the botched surgery, Stalker experienced such acute pain that his testicles eventually had to be removed due to searing pain. He was able to sue the surgeon for $1.76 million.

As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know that sexual cases are intensely painful for the victims. They often feel a great loss of humanity, and experience depression that could make them feel that pursuing a case against their doctors is too overwhelming.

At Shevlin Smith, we fight for victims of medical malpractice in VA & DC who cannot fight for themselves. To learn how we can help you, call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation, or order our FREE book, Do I Have A Case? A Patient's Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.”

Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.