Medical Malpractice Trial Underway in Premature Birth Case

A medical malpractice trial that may extend into mid-January 2015 is now underway in North Carolina. According to the Times-News, “an improperly performed appendectomy caused a pregnant woman’s appendicitis to recur and her daughter to be born four months premature.” Asma Hajeh, who was pregnant at the time, was admitted to Alamance Regional Medical Center on December 24, 2009 complaining of severe abdominal pain. During pre-surgical examinations, doctors discovered that Hajeh, then 35, was three weeks pregnant. Hearn performed a laparoscopic appendectomy, and Hajeh was discharged three days later. She was re-admitted five months later in May 2010 and doctors discovered that the original surgery had missed part of her appendix and she was diagnosed with sepsis. Surgeons found a 4 centimeter portion of Hajeh’s appendix remaining from the original surgery, the lawsuit claims. Sepsis and a second appendectomy caused premature labor and the birth of Miriam, weighing 1 pound 8 ounces. The trial judge has determined that the trial will be conducted in two phases: In the first, the jury will decide whether Hearn was negligent. In a second phase, a jury will determine what, if any, damages should be awarded to the Hajeh family.