Jeffrey Catalano, Corrina Hale, and Maria Davis obtained a $4 million verdict in a medical malpractice case arising from the death of a mother shortly following the birth of her fourth child.
The jury deliberated nearly five days before reaching its verdict after the three-week trial in Norfolk County Superior Court.
The mother became anemic during her pregnancy, and, as a result, was at increased risk of death if she suffered substantial bleeding during and after her C-section. The C-Section was performed at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass. During the C-section, the mother lost one-fourth of her total blood and as a result of an injury to her bowel during the procedure.
She also had an atonic uterus during the C-section, a condition where the uterus fails to contract. Uterine atony creates a substantial risk of maternal post-partum hemorrhage because contraction compresses blood vessels and prevents bleeding. This was treated with medication and it subsided.
However, the atony returned several hours later and the mother continued to hemorrhage substantial amounts of blood. Unfortunately, the defendant Ob/Gyns failed to adequately monitor her condition, and take the necessary steps to give her an immediate blood transfusion.
By the time she received a blood transfusion, it was too late as she had gone into cardiac arrest and continued to bleed excessively. She died within hours of giving birth to a healthy baby boy.
A key hurdle the plaintiff had to overcome at trial was an autopsy report that was admitted into evidence finding that the cause of death was amniotic fluid embolism, a rare, untreatable, unpredictable, and unpreventable condition. Todd & Weld argued that the autopsy was deficient because the medical examiner did not have all of the medical records necessary to come to an accurate determination as to her cause of death.
The jury found one of the defendants negligent, and that her negligence caused the mother’s conscious pain and suffering prior to her death.