On January 14, 2015, an Ohio medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiffs $10,928,188 in compensatory damages after four hours of jury deliberations following seven days of trial testimony, for the serious stroke suffered by a woman during her pregnancy that the plaintiffs alleged was the result of the bad advice of an on-call OB/GYN filling in for her regular OB/GYN.
The woman, who is married with three children, was 26-weeks pregnant in Mach 2012 when she experienced severe abdominal pain and a severe headache. She called her OB/GYN’s office to seek medical advice concerning her serious and disturbing symptoms. She received a call back, but not from her regular physician. Instead, she received a call from the physician on call for the medical practice, who advised the woman that her symptoms were probably due to a gastric condition that did not require her to go to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment.
The following day, the woman suffered a serious stroke while she was at home, leaving her with permanent physical, emotional, and cognitive injuries as a result of her stroke. Fortunately, the very premature baby was safely delivered by Cesarean section.
The Ohio medical malpractice lawsuit named the on-call physician and the medical practice as medical malpractice defendants. The defendants claimed at trial that there was nothing during the woman’s pregnancy that would have or should have put the defendants on notice that the woman would suffer a stroke. The jury rejected the defendants’ defense and found in favor of he woman and her family. The amount of the verdict reflects the value of the economic and noneconomic damages suffered by the woman and her family in the past and reasonably expected to be suffered in the future.
A study published in 2011 in the medical journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that “the number of pregnancy-related stroke hospitalizations grew by 54%, increasing from ≈4000 in 1994 to 1995 to ≈6000 hospitalizations in 2006 to 2007. We also found that pregnancy-related stroke hospitalizations increased by 47% and 83% of deliveries in antenatal and postpartum hospitalizations, respectively. At the end of the study period (2006 to 2007), the overall prevalence of pregnancy-related stroke hospitalizations was 0.71 per 1000 delivery hospitalizations.”
One can only imagine the devastating effect that the woman’s stroke has had, and will have, on her and her family. The lives of the woman’s three children and her husband have been permanently altered, and the full blessings of the woman’s care and guidance of her family have been diminished forever. Her dreams and aspirations for her children have been derailed. And her hopes and desires for her husband and herself have been obliterated.
If you or a family member suffered a stroke during pregnancy or during delivery, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate a possible medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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