Medical Verdicts

Were complications managed properly?


 

Fulton County (Ga) State Court

A woman at 28 weeks’ gestation presented to her Ob/Gyn with a rash on her hands. She was referred to a dermatologist.

During a routine pregnancy visit at 30 weeks’ gestation, the patient asked her physician questions about fetal movement. The doctor ordered an ultrasound 1 week later to check on fetal growth.

The ultrasound revealed intrauterine fetal demise. The stillborn was delivered. Placental pathology revealed both a clotting disorder and a severe fetal infection. In addition, after delivery, the woman’s skin condition was diagnosed as a rare disease affecting the connective tissue that is commonly associated with fetal loss.

In suing, the woman claimed that she had alerted her doctor about reduced fetal movement and should have been referred for a nonstress test and/or a biophysical profile. She contended that if prenatal testing had been conducted, prompt delivery could have saved the fetus’s life.

The doctor argued that scheduling an ultrasound 1 week later was well within the standard of care. The physician also denied that the plaintiff made any complaints of reduced fetal movement and contended that the patient’s disease increases her risk of fetal loss. Further, the doctor noted that placental pathology revealed intravillus fibrin deposition, along with a fetal infection.

  • The jury returned a verdict for the defense.
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: