$1 Million Violation of Standards of Care Results in Death

On March 21, the Plaintiff’s Decedent presented to the Defendant Ob/Gyn for a routine prenatal visit.  Upon examination, she was found to be 6-7 centimeters dilated, and was sent to the Defendant Hospital’s labor and delivery suite for evaluation.   The Plaintiff’s Decedent delivered her son by cesarean section at approximately 12:50 a.m.

The Plaintiff alleged that after being moved into the recovery room, the standards of care required hospital personnel to provide the Plaintiff’s Decedent with a high level of surveillance, including monitoring for bleeding and the obtaining of vital signs.  Over time, the Decedent began manifesting signs of serious post-surgical bleeding.  Her blood pressure which, preoperatively, was in the normal range, was clearly low after delivery and began to seriously drop due to ongoing blood loss. The Decedent was approaching shock at a blood pressure of 78/40.

In fact, at 2:30 a.m., the Plaintiff’s Decedent was examined by a second Defendant physician, who removed approximately 250 milliliters of clot from the Plaintiff’s Decedent’s vagina.  Although some crystalloid fluids were administered, no blood and blood products were provided.  Accordingly, at 2:26 a.m., the blood pressure was 71/32; at 2:28 a.m., the blood pressure was 58/27; and at 2:54 a.m., the blood pressure was 59 over a diastolic which was not obtainable.

Even in the face of these panic values, the Defendants negligently failed to identify the volume of blood lost, and failed to properly replace the lost blood.  Additionally, the Defendants failed to timely perform a hysterectomy to address the cause of the ongoing bleeding — uterine atony.

At 5:15 a.m., she was inappropriately moved to an area for a planned ileac artery embolization despite being obviously unstable.  Shortly after arrival, she became bradycardic and went into ventricular fibrillation.  While resuscitation was successful, no embolization procedure could be performed at that time.  As a result, the Decedent was taken emergently to an operating room for a stat hysterectomy.  Blood and an additional clot was found in the abdominal cavity.  Although the hysterectomy was completed, the Plaintiff’s Decedent arrested again and was resuscitated.  She was subsequently transferred to an Intensive Care Unit where she followed a downward spiral and died on March 23.  At the time of her death, the Plaintiff was 35 years old and was survived by a husband and one child.