Camden County (Nj) Superior Court—A 35-year-old gravida presented to her doctor at 7 months’ gestation for high blood pressure.Tests revealed elevated protein levels in her urine, indicating preeclampsia.The physician advised the patient to lie on her side for 2 hours a day. Two days after her office visit, she developed massive vaginal bleeding and a placental abruption was diagnosed. The physician performed an emergency cesarean and delivered a stillborn. The patient remained hospitalized for 8 days after developing an infection.
In suing, the patient claimed the physician failed to diagnose her preeclampsia quickly and accurately.
In his defense, the physician argued that the patient had preeclampsia during delivery, but not during her office visit.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $500,000 and the husband $350,000 for emotional distress.
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.