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Medical Verdicts


Amniotic fluid embolus leads to mother’s death, infant brain injury

September 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 9

<court>Los Angeles County (Calif) Superior Court</court>

A short while after labor was induced in a 32-year-old gravida, the fetal monitoring strips became nonreassuring and the mother’s breathing was impaired.

After attempting to remedy the situation by repositioning the mother and administering oxygen, the nurses called the obstetrician. The physician arrived to find the mother unresponsive, not breathing, and foaming from the mouth.

Emergency personnel began immediate resuscitation efforts, and the obstetrician performed an emergency cesarean. The child suffered an anoxic brain injury, including cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and seizure disorder. The mother died 18 hours after delivery.

The defendant argued that the patient suffered an amniotic fluid embolus, an unpredictable and untreatable event.

The woman’s family agreed that her death was unavoidable. However, they maintained that the delay in recognizing the mother’s condition caused the child’s injuries.

  • The case settled for $2.13 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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