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Medical Verdicts


Bleeding, death follow D&C

September 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 9

<court>St. Louis County (Mo) Circuit Court</court>

Although begun on local anesthesia, a 49-year-old woman with a history of diabetes was switched to general anesthesia in the course of a dilatation and curettage (D&C).

Profuse hemorrhaging occurred during the procedure, causing reduced blood flow to the brain. Though resuscitated at that time, the woman died the following month due to irreversible brain damage.

In suing, her husband noted that the woman’s diabetes placed her at increased risk for blood loss. Further, he noted, blood tests taken 2 days prior to surgery revealed low hematocrit and hemoglobin levels. Together, these factors should have alerted medical staff to the possibility of intraoperative hemorrhage, prompting them to better prepare for such an event.

The defendants noted that bleeding can occur independent of negligence, and maintained that proper care was given.

  • The defendant physicians settled for $1.2 million. The defendant hospital settled for an undisclosed sum.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn. (www.verdictslaska.com) 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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