Not guilty in maternal death after delivery of stillborn.
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Counsel: Chad M. Castro and Heather T. Gilbert
Asked: $5 Million
Outcome: Not Guilty
Shortly after delivering a stillborn, the decedent went into arrest and a code blue was called. The code team, including the defendants, arrived quickly. The decedent was resuscitated but subsequently coded twice within the next 40 minutes. The code team was unable to resuscitate her during the third code blue. The autopsy revealed that the decedent had a 3 cm tear in her uterus; it was estimated that she had lost up to 40-50% of her total blood volume.
Plaintiff alleged negligence in failing to diagnose the cause of arrest of patient after birth of stillborn; failing to order a surgical consult between codes; and failing to treat patient for hemorrhagic shock. Defendants (house physician and anesthesiologist) contended that it was the responsibility of the decedent’s attending surgeon to diagnose and treat the tear in her uterus. The working diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism was reasonable under the circumstances; and both physicians acted within the standard of care.