A New York University dance instructor was appalled when surgery to remove a uterine fibroid turned into a surprise hysterectomy. Although 48 years old at the time and over the traditional childbearing age, the unexpected organ removal immediately sent Jill Jacobs into menopause. A jury ruled in her favor, but according to the dancer, the $142,000 reward was “shockingly low.”
When Jacobs was admitted to NYU Langone Hospital for surgery on her uterus, she signed a consent form under the impression that a total hysterectomy would only be done in the case of emergency, the NY Daily News reported. To Jacobs, an emergency was specifically cancer, something which blood tests clearly showed she did not have. Despite this fact, the doctors proceeded with removing Jacob’s uterus, seeing it as “the best way to deal with the fibroids.”
Jacobs has already sued the hospital for malpractice and won her lawsuit so the question is no longer who was right or wrong. What is up for debate is whether or not the amount that NYU Langone was forced to give the former ballerina in damages was just or shocking low. A jury decided that NYU Langone owed Jacobs a payout of $142,000. Of this, $132,000 is for damages for pain and suffering, and another $10,000 is for five years of future suffering.
This raises the question concerning how much a woman’s reproductive organ is worth. In a recent case in Canada, a man sued a hospital for $150,000 for shortening his penis, an injury which caused him to not be able to perform sexually for two years. According to Jacobs, the removal of her uterus is worth far more. “I’m shocked” Jacobs, now 54, told the NY Daily News, as she tried to hold back her tears. “It’s a very, very long road to bring your case to trial. You do it because what’s done was wrong,” the former ballerina added.
To Jacobs, it’s not exactly the removal of her uterus that has her upset, but the “butchering” of her body, done without her full knowledge. “This was a violation of a woman's body like none other," Jacobs’ lawyer explained, as reported by Jezebel. The dancer describes how the surgery reminded her of the traumatic kidnapping and rape ordeal she went through when she was 20 years old.
Today, Jacobs claims to be suffering from depression, various physical problems, and feels that her self-image has been severely damaged. What’s even more appalling is the questioning that Jacobs endured at the hands of the defense lawyer. “I urge you to award zero damages. There are no damages," Austa Devlin told the jury as she downplayed Jacob’s physical and emotional injuries.
Surprisingly, this removal of an organ without the patient’s full knowledge isn’t an isolated incidence. In England this April, a pregnant woman who entered the hospital to have her appendix removed had her ovary removed by accident. The woman later had a miscarriage and later died 19 years later from her injuries, AOL reported.