Medical Verdicts

UTI, then massive hemorrhage


 

PARENTS’ CLAIM The genetic testing was improperly conducted. The mother would have had an abortion if she’d known that the child was so disabled.

DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE Settlements were mediated.

VERDICT A $6.15 million New Jersey settlement was reached on behalf of the hospital and two laboratory technicians, and a $1 million settlement was reached with the director of the genetic laboratory.

HEAT INJURY TO COLON: ABSCESSES, PERITONITIS
A 43-year-old patient
had a history of symptomatic uterine fibroids and infertility. Her ObGyn performed a hysteroscopy because he suspected endometriosis, but found none. He then successfully removed a large uterine fibroid during laparoscopic myomectomy. The patient was discharged the same day.

Two days later, the patient developed abdominal pain, nausea, and fever. She went to the ED and was taken into emergency surgery after a CT scan showed free air and fluid in her abdomen. She suffered multiple abscesses and peritonitis.

PATIENT’S CLAIM The ObGyn was negligent in performing the surgery: the sigmoid colon sustained a thermal injury, which caused the abscesses and peritonitis.

PHYSICIAN’S DEFENSE There was no evidence of thermal injury during the original operation; heat damage can and does occur in the absence of negligence. The patient’s previously unknown diverticulitis contributed to the development of the recurrent abscesses and peritonitis.

VERDICT A Florida defense verdict was returned.

RUPTURED UTERUS IS UNDETECTED
During labor and delivery,
a declining fetal heart rate was observed, but there was an hour’s delay before cesarean delivery was started. The child suffered a hypoxic brain injury. He has spastic quadriplegia, cannot speak, and requires a respirator and feeding tube.

PARENTS’ CLAIM The mother suffered a ruptured uterus during labor that was not recognized by the ObGyn or nursing staff.

DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE A settlement was reached during trial.

VERDICT A $7.5 million New Jersey settlement was reached.

These cases were selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska (www.verdictslaska.com). The information available to the editors about the cases presented here is sometimes incomplete. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Nevertheless, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation and are meant to illustrate nationwide variation in jury verdicts and awards.

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