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    Legally Speaking: Tubal ligation failure results in wrongful pregnancy claim


    Hemorrhage after cesarean results in maternal death

    A Virginia woman went to a hospital in 2007 for delivery at 42 weeks’ gestation with ruptured membranes. Her obstetrician ordered oxytocin and labor continued through the day. A decision was made that night to deliver her by emergency cesarean; the patient was noted to have increased bleeding at that time. The bleeding continued and worsened after the cesarean. The patient went into hemorrhagic shock and died the next day.

    A lawsuit was filed, claiming that the patient had uterine atony caused by the use of oxytocin, and that the obstetrician failed to appreciate the severity of the bleeding until too late. The suit also alleged that a hysterectomy should have been performed or blood products used in a more timely manner.

    The case went to the jury against the obstetrician only, who maintained there had been a prompt response to the patient’s bleeding. He claimed that the death was due to an unpredictable, unpreventable, and irreversible amniotic fluid embolism, which triggered a global vascular coagulation problem.


    The verdict

    A defense verdict was returned. An appeal is pending.



    Dawn Collins, JD
    MS COLLINS is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, California. She welcomes feedback on this column via ...


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