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New Bronx doctor's fatal error leads to medical malpractice suit

The birth of a child is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a parent's life. As exhausting as those first months with a newborn can be, most parents cherish the experience. But a New York City father will remember the early months of his daughter's life as tragic, having lost his wife to a fatal error by the doctor who performed the delivery. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit last week in Bronx Supreme Court.

The man described the birth of the couple's daughter last April as the happiest moment of his wife's life. But in the days following the delivery, she continued to suffer pain and bleeding. Follow-up examinations at the Bronx hospital where the baby was born showed nothing unusual, according to medical personnel, and she was sent home both times. Twelve days after the last exam, she went into cardiac arrest and died.

According to the mother's autopsy, a piece of placenta measuring about 9 by 5 centimeters had been left behind during the delivery by a doctor in training. When the placenta fails to come out completely, the uterus is unable to contract to sufficiently stop bleeding after a normal childbirth. The risk of infection also increases.

The second-year resident who delivered the baby was removing the placenta when it broke into pieces, according to the father. While this occasionally happens and is not fatal by itself, it's absolutely critical to ensure that all the remaining pieces are removed. Medical records show that after the delivery, a note signed by the doctor and the attending OB/GYN stated that the placenta removal was "intact and complete."

The mother underwent a spinal MRI after being readmitted to the hospital, which showed no abnormalities. A sonogram could have identified the problem, but doctors didn't perform one even though the mother continued to experience problems. Three nights after another visit that revealed no problems, the mother's breathing stopped. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead after unsuccessful attempts to revive her.

Now the baby's father, devastated by the sudden loss of his wife, must raise his daughter alone. His malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, if successful, won't bring the mother back, but will at least offer some compensation both for her medical expenses and the husband's ongoing pain and suffering.

Source: New York Post, "Bronx woman died after childbirth due to botched placenta removal: lawsuit," Susan Edelman, Feb. 10, 2013

  • Our firm handles medical malpractice cases for residents of New York and New Jersey. To learn more about our practice, visit our medical malpractice page.

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