June 21, 2010
Tracy Prewitt and Katherine Vesely successfully defended an obstetrician/gynecologist from Columbus, Indiana against allegations of medical malpractice. Plaintiff alleged that the physician failed to diagnose a pregnant patient with severe preeclampsia (or pregnancy-induced hypertension) and failed to transfer that patient to a specialist for her immediate delivery. Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for maternal and fetal monitoring and extensive testing. After a full workup and testing that confirmed that the mother and 32-week-old fetus were doing well, Plaintiff was released from the hospital on strict bed rest and with plans for twice weekly follow-up visits with her physician for the duration of her pregnancy. Unfortunately, despite appropriate medical care, Plaintiff presented to the hospital emergently several days later having suffered an acute placental abruption, which resulted in the stillborn delivery of the baby. The patient went on to develop HELLP syndrome, a rare but severe complication of her disease that affects the patient’s kidneys. Prewitt and Vesely defended the case, which had a unanimous adverse medical review panel against the physician, by establishing that the patient did not have severe preeclampsia on her initial admission to the hospital. The defense also established that delivery at that time, considering the baby’s gestational age and the patient’s mild disease, would have been inappropriate. Moreover, in light of the reassuring maternal and fetal monitoring and testing that occurred while she was in the hospital, it was reasonable to release the patient home on bed rest with plans for regular, frequent follow-up visits with her physician for the remainder of her term. After a week-long trial, the jury deliberated for an hour and a half before returning a unanimous verdict for the defense.