Earlier this month, a federal medical malpractice jury in Illinois returned its advisory verdict in favor of the plaintiff after which the federal judge affirmed a $9 million award in a federal medical malpractice case that claimed that a federally-funded hospital, a physician, and a nurse were medically negligent in their treatment of the pregnant patient and that their negligence caused the woman’s death and the death of her unborn son.
The 40-year-old pregnant woman was a high-risk patient when she went to the hospital during the evening on February 26, 2010, complaining of shortness of breath. The woman was 32-weeks pregnant at the time she was admitted to the hospital and placed in a regular hospital room instead of being admitted to the ICU.
Her doctor examined her the next morning and wrote in the woman’s medical record that she had lower left lobe pneumonia. Nonetheless, the woman was kept in a regular hospital room.
Over the course of the following eight hours, the woman’s condition worsened and she complained of being in distress, feeling anxious, and having shortness of breath. The nurse allegedly attempted to contact the woman’s doctor to advise him of his patient’s worsening condition but he failed to respond to the two attempts to telephone him. Despite the patient’s worsening condition and the failure of the attending physician to respond, the nurse failed to transport the woman to the emergency department of the hospital where she could have received proper evaluation and care.
Approximately one hour after the nurse last attempted to contact the woman’s doctor by telephone, the woman was found unresponsive in her hospital room. Attempts at CPR failed and she was pronounced dead at 11:00 p.m. Efforts were made for twenty minutes to revive the baby but despite such efforts, the baby boy died.
The woman’s husband filed the federal medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, mainly focusing on the alleged medical negligence of his wife’s doctor, nurse, and the hospital, alleging that his wife should have been placed in the hospital’s ICU where she could have received the appropriate supportive care that would have saved her life and the life of the unborn child. Instead, the woman was kept in a regular hospital room where her medical condition deteriorated and she and her son unnecessarily died.
The defendants pointed the finger at each other for the lack of appropriate medical care and for the woman’s death. The advisory medical malpractice jury found that all three of them committed medical malpractice that resulted in the death of the woman and the baby, after a three-week federal medical malpractice trial. The federal judge subsequently signed off on the jury’s findings and verdict, for which the United States of America is responsible.
The woman and her husband had been married since 2006. They had one other child during their marriage. The woman had five other children, all daughters, from previous relationships, ranging from ages 13 to 23.
If you or a loved one suffered injury (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice at a federal medical facility, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who handles Federal Tort Claims Act claims and who may investigate your federal medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a federal tort claim action, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find federal medical malpractice attorneys (federal tort claim attorneys) who may assist you.
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