$2.5 million award to mother in medical malpractice trial
In Louisiana and all other states, a great majority of medical malpractice cases are settled prior to trial. The plaintiff loses more often than not in cases that go to trial. That may be because defense attorneys tend to not want to settle medical malpractice cases that they believe are weak. It is not usually an easy task to prove medical malpractice to a jury, especially when the case may in fact be riddled with one or more potential weaknesses.
The foregoing theory only holds up to a certain extent. It is also true that, in recent years nationwide, there have been some very high verdicts, even in the tens of millions, reported from jury trials. A jury recently awarded $2.5 million to a woman who lost her unborn child.
The woman, who was in the 35th week of her pregnancy, had gone to the emergency room with complaints of severe pain in her side. She was seen in the emergency room instead of being sent straight to delivery. After several hours, the doctor correctly diagnosed her with gallstones and a hematoma on the inside wall of her abdomen.
The defendant doctor discharged the woman without any further tests, prescribing her pain pills. The problems were left to wait until the baby was born. By the next day, however, she was found near death by her daughter. The hematoma, which experts testified at trial should have been checked with additional monitoring and tests, had grown to the size of a volleyball. It cut off all blood to the child, and essentially, the baby choked to death.
The mother survived but the baby died. The allegation against the doctor was that greater care should have been used to monitor the mother: she should have been admitted and given regular testing. The jury deliberated for two days and awarded her $2.5 million in the wrongful death case. The case could have had the same outcome had it brought in Louisiana due to the similar legal principles governing medical malpractice cases.
Source: kansascity.com, “After death of unborn son, a rare courtroom victory in medical malpractice case“, Eric Adler, June 10, 2016