Medical Verdicts

Fetus expelled to floor after D&C


Los Angeles County (Calif) Superior Court

A 28-year-old woman in her first trimester learned that her fetus had no cardiac activity. A dilation and curettage (D&C) was performed.

At home following the procedure, the woman experienced abdominal pain. While in the bathroom, she expelled the fetus onto the floor. The patient required a second D&C procedure. When the woman and her husband requested the fetus for burial, they learned that it was sent to pathology, where it was destroyed.

In suing, the plaintiffs noted that medical records showed that, at the first D&C, only 50 cc of blood and minimal products of conception were collected. They alleged this should have prompted an ultrasound examination to ensure the fetus was completely removed.

The defendants denied negligence, noting that incomplete removal of the fetus is a known risk of the procedure.

  • The parties settled for $225,000 at arbitration.
The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( 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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