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$4 million awarded to family in medical malpractice suit

Many Louisiana residents find comfort in knowing that some surgeries are more common than others. It sometimes helps to know that some operations are successfully performed multiple times a day. Unfortunately, mistakes are still sometimes made. However, it is when these mistakes are not properly addressed that some families feel it necessary to file medical malpractice suits. 

In 2008, a mother was admitted to South Shore Hospital to deliver her fourth child via cesarean section. It was noted that the patient was at a higher risk of developing serious complications during the surgery due to the fact that she had become anemic during her pregnancy. The surgery proceeded as planned, but complications arose when the mother's bowel was punctured by one of the doctors. A vascular surgeon was brought in to repair the puncture, but not before a significant amount of blood was lost. Because of these complications, the patient was to be closely monitored after the procedure.

After the surgery, a doctor gave orders to have the supplies needed for a transfusion ready, but the doctor gave no instructions detailing when or why the transfusion should be done. That same doctor signed care of the patient over to another colleague before leaving later that night. Not long after the doctor left the hospital, the mother began hemorrhaging. A transfusion was attempted, but the supplies did not include anything to help clot the patient's blood. Even after the doctors ordered more transfusions and an emergency hysterectomy, the mother died around 10:32 that evening. 

The cause of death was determined to be a pulmonary amniotic fluid embolism, which is caused when amniotic fluid or other debris makes its way into the bloodstream. It was asserted that the medical staff did not take proper precautions despite the complications during the surgery and the fact that she was anemic. A jury also agreed that aggressive treatments, like a post-operative transfusion, should have been administered immediately after surgery to prevent a possible hemorrhage.

Families in Louisiana believing that they or a loved one may be victims of negligence should consider speaking with an attorney. A professional may be able to help families determine if a medical malpractice suit is warranted. If a suit is warranted, then an attorney can help clients understand what compensation they may be entitled to. 

Source:, "$4M awarded in malpractice suit over death of Stoughton woman in childbirth", Tom Relihan, Oct. 17, 2017

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