On November 19, 2019, a Prince George’s County, Maryland medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $900,000 in favor of the parents of an unborn child who died because the defendant health care provider negligently failed to timely diagnose and properly treat her pregnancy complications. At the conclusion of the five-day trial, the Maryland medical malpractice jury deliberated for approximately five hours before determining that the mother should receive $600,000 in compensation and the unborn child’s father should receive $300,000 in compensation.
The Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the mother had pre-pregnancy chronic hypertension and developed superimposed preeclampsia at 35 weeks that should have been diagnosed when she went to the defendant obstetrician on April 3, 2017. At that time the mother already had an appointment scheduled with a specialist for two days later. The defendant obstetrician contacted the specialist and was able to move up the appointment to the next day. Instead of immediately sending the mother to the hospital for monitoring and delivery, which the plaintiffs alleged was required by the applicable standard of care, the defendant obstetrician sent her home. When the mother was seen by the specialist the following day, it was determined that the baby had died in utero after the mother was seen by her obstetrician the day before. The deceased baby was delivered at the hospital two days later.
The defense argued to the jury that the obstetrician had not breached the standard of care by sending the patient home pending the appointment with the specialist the following day.
The CDC reports that preeclampsia happens in about 1 in 25 pregnancies in the United States and that approximately three in five pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.
The American Pregnancy Association states with regard to the treatment of preeclampsia, “Treatment depends on how close you are to your due date. If you are close to your due date, and the baby is developed enough, your health care provider will probably want to deliver your baby as soon as possible.”
The Preeclampsia Foundation states on its website, “The rate of preeclampsia in the US has increased 25% in the last two decades and is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy can be devastating diseases, made worse by delays in diagnosis or management, seriously impacting or even killing both women and their babies before, during or after birth … Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.”
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury during labor and/or delivery in Maryland or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly find a birth injury lawyer in Maryland or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
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