Medical Verdicts

Hysterectomy follows delayed treatment of sepsis, ARDS


Undisclosed County (Va) Circuit Court

After delivering her second child, a 26-year-old woman experienced distress and severe pain, which clinicians attributed to pubic symphysitis and hemorrhoids. She was treated with diazepam and pain medication, to little avail.

Despite the patient’s continued complaints of severe pain and a call by the nursing staff requesting his return to the hospital, the obstetrician did not examine the patient, but instead ordered more pain medication. The woman then developed a fever of 101.5°, and her pulse dropped to 70/45. The physician, by phone, ordered a blood culture assay, which was abnormal.

Later that evening another physician was called in and noted that the woman was going into shock. She was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). After stabilizing, she underwent an emergency hysterectomy. For the next 5 weeks she remained in the ICU recovering from group A sepsis and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The patient argued that had antibiotics been administered earlier, an emergency hysterectomy could have been avoided.

The obstetrician contended that the infection spread too quickly for surgery to have been prevented.

  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $625,000.
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.

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