Family Physician Allegedly Unqualified to Treat Pregnancy Complication; Patient Death Prompts $6M Award

November 23, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​An Ohio jury found a family physician liable for the death of a woman from complications of pregnancy that the physician was allegedly unqualified to treat, according to a report from the September 2016 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts(subscription required). The 34-year-old patient was receiving prenatal care from the defendant family physician, who had limited privileges to deliver uncomplicated pregnancies at a hospital. At a routine prenatal visit with the defendant, the patient complained of a headache and a cough, and her blood pressure reading was 130/90 mm Hg. A couple of days later, the woman reported acute vaginal bleeding and a headache and was admitted to a hospital with a diagnosis of potential placental abruption. Ultrasound revealed oligohydramnios, intrauterine growth restriction, and grade II placenta. She also had high blood pressure, headache, variable and late decelerations, a D-dimer reading of 26,442, and decreasing platelet levels. She was discharged and advised to obtain an ultrasound at another hospital. Three days later, the patient's husband told the defendant that the patient was vomiting and had abdominal pain and a headache. The patient went to a hospital, where her blood pressure was measured as 155/100 mm Hg. She complained of a headache and had facial edema and vomiting. The next day, a nurse found the patient unresponsive.

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