By: Virginia Lawyers Weekly May 7, 2018
The patient went to the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain two days after being discharged following the birth of her first child via C-section. A CT scan was read as possibly showing an abscess on her uterus, and she had an elevated white blood count and a fever.
The ER physician believed the patient had an abscess. The defendant OBGYN admitted the patient and believed abscess was unlikely, and instead chose to treat her for a common post-partum infection. The patient was placed on IV antibiotics. While some of her lab results improved from her admission, she had not showed significant improvement 48-72 hours after IV antibiotics were started.
The defendant continued to discount the imaging study showing a fluid collection with gas bubbles and an enhancing rim for several more days. By the seventh day of the admission the patient’s condition had deteriorated and a consulting infectious disease doctor ordered a repeat CT scan, which showed that the fluid collection was almost certainly an abscess.
Shortly after those results were read, the patient underwent a complex laparotomy to remove uterine tissue that had become necrotic as a result of the abscess. She will not carry another child. She works as a teacher for preschool children with special needs. The defendant contested liability, causation, and damages through expert testimony. The jury returned a verdict of $1,500,000.00 after deliberating for an hour and a half. The parties later settled the case for $1,450,000.00 to avoid an appeal.
Type of action: Medical Malpractice
Injuries alleged: Uterine Abscess Requiring Surgical Resection; Loss of Childbearing Capacity
Name of case: Confidential
Court: Richmond Circuit Court
Case no.: Confidential
Tried before: Jury
Name of Judge: Hon. Melvin Hughes
Date resolved: March 29, 2018
Special damages: $192,000 Medical Bills; $45,000 Wage Loss
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorneys for plaintiff: William B. Kilduff, Christopher L. Spinelli, and W. Randolph Robins, Jr., Richmond
Plaintiff’s experts: Eric Swisher, MD (OBGYN); Gerald Donowitz, MD (Infectious Disease); Robert Sheiman, MD (Radiology)
Defendant’s experts: Alfred Abuhamad, MD (OBGYN); Allen Morrison, MD (Infectious Disease); Brian Holly, MD (Radiology)
Insurance carrier: The Doctors Company