On August 5, 2016, a federal judge in Maryland entered a default judgment in the amount of $6.5 million against the defendant OB and his women’s health clinic after the defendants failed to respond to the plaintiff’s amended complaint. The plaintiff had alleged in her federal Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that the defendants breached the standard of care in performing an elective abortion on her and negligently failed to diagnose that her pregnancy had not been terminated, resulting in her now three-year-old son being born more than ten weeks early and suffering from heart defects, developmental delays, and hearing loss.
The Alleged Facts
The plaintiff was diagnosed by her primary care physician as being pregnant in July 2012, as confirmed by an ultrasound and a blood test. It was determined at that time that the woman’s pregnancy was at eight weeks plus two days. After ten days of soul-searching and serious consideration, the woman decided to end her pregnancy. She then sought out the defendants to perform the elective medical abortion procedure.
The woman’s Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that when she first went to the defendant women’s health facility, the untrained office manager performed an ultrasound on her and decided that the woman was seven weeks and four days pregnant, which was significant because the medication-based abortion procedure selected by the defendants is not intended for women over eight weeks pregnant. Furthermore, the Maryland medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that the two medications she was given to abort her fetus were not approved for such purposes.
When the woman returned to the defendant women’s health facility in mid-August 2012 for a follow-up appointment, she complained that she still felt pregnant. The untrained office manager performed another ultrasound at that time and told the woman that she was not pregnant. As a result, the woman resumed drinking alcohol and taking her prescription medications that she was told to avoid during her pregnancy.
In October 2012, during a wellness examination at her primary care physician, the woman was found to be more than eighteen weeks pregnant and her pregnancy was determined to be high-risk. The woman subsequently developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy that led to her being admitted to the hospital, where she delivered her premature son on December 19, 2012.
The physician owner of the defendant women’s health facility, who was named as a defendant in the Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit, along with other doctors who treated the woman at the women’s health facility, reportedly had his medical license suspended or revoked in several states because of improper abortion practices. One of the defendant doctors settled with the plaintiff before the federal judge entered the $6.5 million Maryland medical malpractice default judgment against the other defendants. Whether the plaintiff will be able to collect the judgment is unknown.
Source O’Connell v. Associates in OB/GYN Care LLC d/b/a American Women’s Services, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Case No.: JFM 14-1339.
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