Morris County (Nj) Superior Court—On May 11, a gravida at 24 weeks’ gestation presented to her obstetrician, who diagnosed her with hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (HELLP syndrome). Five days later, she underwent an emergency cesarean delivery of a severely disabled infant.
The mother sued, claiming the obstetrician should have recognized the seriousness of the problem when the lab results from May 11 showed elevated enzyme levels and a low platelet count. Additionally, she alleged that once HELLP syndrome was diagnosed, she and the father should have been given the option of immediately terminating the pregnancy because there was a 90% chance the infant would be born with significant disabilities. The defendant asserted he could not have detected her condition at such an early stage.
A $950,000 settlement was reached.
The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.