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Medical Verdicts

Delayed strep A diagnosis blamed for maternal death

August 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 8

<court>Lucas County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas</court>

A 27-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital for a scheduled cesarean, which resulted in a normal delivery. The following evening, the patient developed a fever and a drop in blood pressure. The next morning it was noted that she had a severe left shift in her white blood count (WBC). After diagnosing group A sepsis, the physician administered an antibiotic. The woman then went into a coma and died 5 days later.

In suing, the woman’s family alleged that the physician failed to diagnose and treat her condition in a timely fashion, delaying diagnosis for 6 hours and antibiotic treatment for 8 hours.

The obstetrician contended that this type of aggressive infection was rare and usually fatal.

  • The case settled for $1.5 million.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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