January 22, 2020
Gerry Toner and Lizzi Beal successfully defended two Louisville-based obstetricians and their OB-GYN group against claims that various practice members failed to diagnose cervical lacerations purportedly occurring during Cesarean birth. Plaintiff argued that the standard of care required a number of practice members involved in Plaintiff’s care to perform a vaginal speculum exam at various times throughout her admission. Notably, Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital four days after her Caesarean delivery in stable condition alongside her healthy baby girl. Approximately eleven days after delivery and seven days after discharge from her hospital stay, Plaintiff returned to the hospital with profuse vaginal bleeding. The Plaintiff argued that the cause of the profuse vaginal bleeding – a “secondary postpartum hemorrhage” – was purported cervical lacerations present at the time of birth which had scabbed over and broken loose nearly two weeks after delivery. The defense argued that the cause of Plaintiff’s bleeding was subinvolution, or a delay in the normal process of involution of the placental site in the uterus, which was confirmed by nationally-recognized pathologist Rebecca Baergen, M.D., and unrebutted by Plaintiff. Furthermore, the defense argued that at no time was a vaginal speculum exam warranted during Plaintiff’s first hospital admission because there was no indication that Plaintiff had suffered cervical lacerations at the time of Cesarean delivery, a complication which occurs most often in vaginal deliveries. Due to the profuse bleeding upon returning to the hospital, Plaintiff necessitated an emergency hysterectomy to save her life. Plaintiff sought four million dollars ($4,000,000) for past and future pain and suffering, largely based upon the loss of her uterus and inability to have children in the future in a way her religion would allow. A unanimous jury rendered a verdict for the defense.