Medical Verdicts

Allergic reaction to contrast dye results in maternal death


Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas

A 31-year-old gravida presented to her obstetrician in her first few weeks of pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum. The physician treated her with central line hyperalimentation on an outpatient basis. At 17 weeks, the woman suffered a spontaneous abortion. One week later, she presented to the hospital with shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat. A computed tomography (CT) scan was performed to rule out a pulmonary embolism. During the procedure, the patient went into cardiac arrest and died. An autopsy revealed an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.

In suing, the patient’s family argued that the hospital staff failed to admit the gravida when she initially presented with hyperemesis gravidarum, causing her to become malnourished and thiamin deficient, which ultimately resulted in her death.

The hospital claimed that the woman died unexpectedly from an allergic reaction to the contrast material used during the CT scan.

  • The case settled for $4.75 million.
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.

Next Article: