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Medical Verdicts

What caused leak: UTI or PPROM?

July 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 7
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<court>Hamilton County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court</court>

Upon the discovery in the middle of the night that she was leaking fluid, a woman at 20 weeks’ gestation called her obstetrician’s office and spoke with the covering physician. The doctor diagnosed a urinary tract infection (UTI) and told the patient to come into the office the next day. Urine culture taken at that visit was normal.

The woman continued to leak fluid for the next 2 weeks. A visit with her regular obstetrician later that month passed without incident, but at a second visit the physician suspected ruptured membranes. The doctor admitted the woman to the hospital, where preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) was confirmed. The child was delivered at 24 weeks’ gestation and died 2 days after birth.

The woman sued the physician who took her late-night call, claiming the doctor was negligent in failing to diagnose ruptured membranes.

The defendant argued that the woman’s symptoms were consistent with UTI, and claimed the membranes had not yet ruptured at the time of the initial phone call.

  • 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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