On November 2, 2015, after a seven-week California medical malpractice trial involving the death of a 26-year-old Chinese woman who came to the United States to give birth to her second child, the medical malpractice jury found in favor of the woman’s family and awarded approximately $2 million against the defendant obstetrician who allegedly abandoned the woman shortly after she gave birth.
The defendant obstetrician reportedly was found by the medical malpractice jury to have abandoned the woman in the hospital’s intensive care unit after she had bled profusely. Before the trial, the defendant hospital where the woman had delivered her son settled with the family for $3.2 million.
The woman came from China to give birth in the United States, allegedly due to better medical facilities in the United States (children born in the United States are citizens of the United States; websites in China and in other foreign countries offer services to arrange for pregnant women to come to the United States to give birth, where the children will be U.S. citizens, receive free education, and will be entitled to benefits available only to U.S. citizens).
According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the woman delivered a healthy four-pound baby boy on March 9, 2014, after which a nurse in the delivery room massaged the woman’s uterus, at which time she suffered postpartum hemorrhage as evidenced by the substantial amount of blood that poured out. For about two and a half hours, the woman was treated with four units of packed red blood cells and medications, and a balloon was inserted to control the bleeding. She was then transferred to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant obstetrician had reinserted the balloon in the ICU after it became dislodged and then left to go home after about 15 minutes, believing that he would be contacted if the woman’s condition deteriorated. At trial, the defendant obstetrician reportedly testified that he had left the monitoring of the patient to the ICU nurses and that he did not check the patient’s vital signs before he left because her bleeding had stopped, she was awake and alert, and she was able to talk (which observations reportedly were not noted in the woman’s medical chart). The plaintiff alleged that his wife was not stable when the defendant obstetrician left her in the ICU, noting that his wife’s heart rate was elevated and her fingernails were blue.
The ICU nurses contacted the defendant obstetrician at home about two hours after he had left (at about 3:14 a.m.) after a code blue was called (her heart rate had slowed to 44 beats per minute and she needed an oxygen mask to breath). The defendant obstetrician arrived back at the ICU about 14 minutes after he was called, but the woman’s condition continued to deteriorate. She was removed from life support three days later.
The defendant maintained that he had not done anything wrong but the jury decided otherwise (after the verdict was rendered, one of the juror’s stated that the biggest issue for him was that the defendant obstetrician did not document his findings and actions in the medical records, so it became the defendant doctor’s word against others; the juror also stated, “He should have stayed”).
If you or a loved one suffered a birth injury in California or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a California birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
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