$1,100,000 Settlement for Medical Malpractice

The decedent was a 41-year-old mother of five who entered the hospital on September 17, 2007 for the purpose of delivering her sixth child via caesarian section. The delivery at approximately 2:00 p.m. was uneventful, but due to preeclampsia, the decedent was to be medicated and monitored in labor and delivery for 24 hours. Blood work and vital signs at approximately 6:00 p.m. were normal. Approximately six hours after delivery, the woman’s vital signs began to show ominous changes. Her blood pressure began to steadily rise, and she became increasingly tachycardic (rapid heart beat). These signs were reported to a resident, who ordered blood work at approximately 10:00 p.m. with the understanding that the symptoms were potentially being caused by internal bleeding. That blood work demonstrated a decline in both hematocrit and hemoglobin, both consistent with internal bleeding. However, these findings were never acted upon. Stroke was ruled out, but no investigation was then undertaken to determine the cause of these symptoms. Over the next three hours, the decedent remained markedly tachycardic, with decreased urine output and declining blood pressure and oxygen saturation readings. Blood work ordered just before midnight was not drawn for over three hours. The records demonstrate very few nursing interventions, gaps in recording of vital signs and the absence of notification to treating physicians of changes in patient status. By 2:30 a.m. on September 18th, the decedent became weak and less responsive, and was started on supplemental oxygen by facemask due to further declining oxygen saturation levels. At 3:39 a.m., she became unresponsive, coded, and went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. She died at 4:42 a.m. At autopsy, it was found that she had 2200 CCs – over half a gallon – of blood in her abdomen.