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This is a medical negligence case arising from the defendants’ failure to diagnose and treat the plaintiff’s postpartum infection resulting in a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The plaintiff, a 28-year old wife and mother, gave birth to her fifth child at home under the care of the defendant lay midwife. Following the birth, the plaintiff’s trailing membranes were removed by the defendant midwife. Two days after the birth, the plaintiff developed a fever and was experiencing severe abdominal pain. This was reported to the midwife who directed her to take Tylenol. The pain and fever were still present the next day and this too was reported to the midwife.
On the fourth day after the birth, the plaintiff’s severe pain had not subsided. The mid-wife suggested that the plaintiff go to the emergency department to check for infection due to retained membranes. The plaintiff presented to the hospital where lab work was done that was highly suggestive of an infection. The attending physician’s assistant in the emergency department contacted the on-call obstetrician, who advised the physician’s assistant to treat the plaintiff with Vicodin for the pain and have her follow up with his office in the morning. According to the physician’s assistant’s notes, the on-call obstetrician specifically directed the physician’s assistant not to give the plaintiff antibiotics. The physician’s assistant’s notes state that the on-call physician was contacted a second time about the abnormal lab results but the on-call obstetrician again decided not to treat the plaintiff with antibiotics.
The plaintiff followed up with the obstetrician’s office the next morning and was told that she would not been seen. The plaintiff informed the midwife of the situation who in turn contacted another obstetrician who refused to see the plaintiff. The plaintiff presented to urgent care the next day but the medical providers there also declined to provide the plaintiff with antibiotics. In desperation, the plaintiff went to another hospital where she was diagnosed with endometritis, admitted, and put on IV antibiotics. She was ultimately transferred to another hospital and underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. She was discharged home from the hospital with assistance from visiting nurses.
Suit was brought against the midwife and the on-call obstetrician.
As a result of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiff will be unable to have any more children and will be on hormone replacement therapy for the remainder of her life. Additionally, she has experienced and will continue to experience severe physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress. She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She has undergone otherwise unnecessary medical treatment and she has incurred medical expenses and associated out-of-pocket costs that exceed one hundred thousand dollars.
The parties reached a confidential settlement after suit was filed but prior to trial.
Abramson, Brown & Dugan
1819 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03104