Medical Verdicts

Did undiagnosed preeclampsia lead to maternal death?


Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court

A 23-year-old gravida suffered an abruption due to severe preeclampsia and required an emergency cesarean. Although the infant was delivered without complication, the mother developed HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver proteins, and low platelets) syndrome and disseminated intravascular coagulation. She died 36 hours later from an intracerebral hemorrhage.

In suing, the patient’s family claimed that the nurse failed to properly alert the physician to the woman’s elevated blood pressure and proteinuria prior to delivery. If she had notified the doctor, the patient’s preeclampsia would not have worsened.

The physician contended that no consultation was necessary and that the patient’s preeclampsia was sudden and unexpected.

  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $9.9 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: