Two 19-year-olds were looking forward to the birth of their baby. In preparation for the birth of a healthy baby, the expectant mother began prenatal visits with a gynecologist when she was six weeks pregnant. The pregnancy appeared to be progressing without difficulties. A couple of months after her first prenatal visit, her gynecologist arranged for an ultrasound that did not detect any fetal abnormalities.
However, the following month the expectant mother arrived at the gynecologist’s office with complaints of spotting. The gynecologist’s examination determined that the fetal measurements indicated a fetus that was at 21 weeks even though the pregnancy was at 24 weeks.
The gynecologist sent the pregnant woman to a local hospital’s gynecology department for assessment of her spotting issue but failed to address the small size of the fetus or request an assessment of the possibility of intrauterine growth restriction that can lead to the death of the fetus, accordingly to the medical malpractice lawsuit. If ordered, a Doppler ultrasound test could have more precisely measured the fetus’ size and development as well as assess blood flow, which could have indicated if there was a problem at that point in the pregnancy.
During the next month, the pregnant woman visited her gynecologist on three occasions. The gynecologist determined that the fetus was at least three weeks smaller than it should have been at that time. Despite that suspicious finding, the gynecologist did not order additional testing, the gynecologist did not admit the woman into the hospital for inpatient testing, and the gynecologist did not seek medical consultation with specialists who may have been able to assess the fetal situation and timely and appropriate address the pregnancy issues.
When the woman returned to her gynecologist at 31 weeks, a Doppler ultrasound was performed that failed to detect a fetal heart beat. The death of the fetus was subsequently confirmed, which required the woman to undergo a cesarean section to remove the deceased fetus.
The parents-to-be brought a medical malpractice claim against the gynecologist for medical malpractice, claiming that the gynecologist breached the standard of care and that the breach of the required standard of care resulted in the death of the fetus. They also claimed that there was a lack of informed consent because the gynecologist never explained to them the risk of death to the fetus due to intrauterine growth restriction.
The medical malpractice defendants denied the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice allegations and vigorously defended their actions during trial . A Baltimore jury sided with the plaintiffs and awarded each of them $400,000 for their losses. The trial lasted one week, resulting in the jury’s verdict on February 3, 2012.
The caption of the case is Krenzer, et al. v. Duroseau, et al. (Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No.: 24-C-10006956).
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