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Medical Verdicts

Was viable pregnancy negligently terminated?

February 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 2
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<court>Coconino County (Ariz) Superior Court</court>

A 28-year-old woman presented to an Ob/Gyn reporting several days of vaginal spotting after a positive pregnancy test. No intrauterine pregnancy could be found on transvaginal ultrasound. Suspecting an ectopic pregnancy, the physician advised termination.

The plaintiff agreed, but later sued the doctor, alleging the pregnancy was actually intrauterine. She further claimed lack of informed consent and an inability to become pregnant.

The defendant maintained that the diagnosis was accurate, and noted that termination was necessary, since the condition’s consequences can be fatal. He also claimed informed consent was granted, and noted that the termination offered the woman the greatest chance of future fertility.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.

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 ( 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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