Jury Awards $58.6 million for OB/GYN mistake - page 2

by Turd Ferguson 9,112 Views | 47 Comments

original article located here some of the comments at the bottom of the page are interesting, some are downright stupid. what are your thoughts?... Read More


  1. 9
    And people wonder why so many doctors are so C/Section-happy, and so quick to jump to interventions.

    Because if they don't, they get sued for $80 bajillion million dollars.
    tablefor9, kito4149, wooh, and 6 others like this.
  2. 1
    Quote from gettingbsn2msn
    If this does not stop there will be no one who will take on the healthcare career in the USA. It will not be worth it. Almost not worth it now. Everyone sues everyone. It this Dr. had taken the baby via c-sect too early and something happened would have also been sued. It was a no win situation. Who wants odds like that?
    Actually, not nearly as often. OBs are penalized far less for bad outcomes from too many interventions than they do from not enough interventions. What it creates is a culture of fear and super-conservativism among OB practice.
    wooh likes this.
  3. 17
    Quote from kooky korky
    who cares what they "go through"? when someone is damaged, it costs money to take care of them. good feelings, reasonableness - these do not buy diapers, therapy, wheelchairs, hospital beds, remodeling of the home to accommodate the handicapped person, and on and on and on and on and on and on, etc.

    doctors go to school and do a residency. yes, they're fallible and human, sure they agonize over many dilemmas and have to use judgment, no they're not always right. the outcome is horrendous when they guess wrongly.

    what about what the family has to "go through" and what the direct victim of the doctor's error has to "go through"?


    but that's the problem here. there is absolutely no evidence presented in theis article that the physician made an error. and how in the world are 12 members of a jury with no healthcare background or knowledge of obstetrical standards of care qualified to make the determnation that he did?

    if any reform is needed, it should be in the amount the lawyers get from the plaintiffs. reduce that to about 10%, down from the standard 33%. now that would be reform.
    i partly agree with this statement, as the only one walking away from this lawsuit satisfied is the plaintiff's attorney. if the physician erred (and that's a big, unproven if), the parents should be awarded a reasonable amount of money to be safely invested in order to pay for this child's life-long care. i am quite convinced that $10 million, properly invested, would more that satisfy that legitimate need. to out-do true damages with an additional $50 million is riduculous and does no one any good. not the parents, who will probably never collect. not the physician who did nothing to warrant this judgement and will never be able to pay it, and not society as a whole, whose healthcare costs will soar because of the ignorant and ill-informed decision of this jury.

    the only possible justification for this award would be if there were clear and convincing evidence of intentional and wanton disregard of human life and safety on the part of the physician. but there is absolutely no evidence of that. and if there were, the proper response would be revocation of his medical license and criminal charges.

    usalsfyre, Trilldayz,RN BSN, mama_d, and 14 others like this.
  4. 27
    I've told this story on AN before, and will tell it again, to help some posters understand that awards in OB can have very little to do with legitimate blame, and very much to do with emotion on the part of the jury.

    My sister has friend who is (was) an OB. She accepted a patient who had just recently moved to town and presented for prenatal care with her 2nd pregnancy. On the first visit, attended by both husband and wife, the OB learned that the couple had a very young child (very short interval between pregnancies) who had been delivered by C-section via a vertical incision. She cautioned them both of the dangers of uterine rupture with so little time for the uterine incision to heal between deliveries and counseled them about the likely need for a repeat C-section prior to the onset of labor to safely deliver this baby.

    The couple balked at this information, refused to provide the OB with records from the previous pregnancy, and were unwilling to seek a second opinion as requested by the OB. She documented very clearly the conversations and teaching at each and every prenatal visit.

    When the patient went into labor, she called the OB, who implored her to come to the hospital. She assured her that she could not and would not attempt to "force" a C-section on her, but wanted to be able to monitor her in a safe environment, where help was immediately available in the event of an emergency. The woman refused, and labored at home, until...you guessed it... she began to experience terrible pain and bleeding.

    She was rushed to the hospital where the OB delivered a dead baby and performed a hysterectomy to save the mother's life.

    The parents sued the OB and won a huge settlement for loss of the baby and loss of future childbearing ability.

    The jury was interviewed and stated, to a member, that they didn't really believe the OB was at fault, but they thought someone ought to pay the price for the couple's loss of their child. (Here's a novel idea...how about the parents!)

    The last I knew, the OB was no longer practicing. I don't know if her insurance company appealed the verdict.
    usalsfyre, MissMcCoy, dudette10, and 24 others like this.
  5. 6
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    Geez, how do you sue someone over a judgment call?
    Monday morning quaterback syndrome. It's very easy to tell everyone what the should have done if you already know how the situation played out. Juror's on medical cases should be in the medical profession, so that they can understand the difficulty involved in making a judgement call.
    kito4149, wooh, Conqueror+, and 3 others like this.
  6. 8
    Quote from Jolie
    The jury was interviewed and stated, to a member, that they didn't really believe the OB was at fault, but they thought someone ought to pay the price for the couple's loss of their child. (Here's a novel idea...how about the parents!)
    That is digusting, where is the personal responsibility. My theory is that people watch to many movies/tv shows where the poor suffering person sues and gets a multimillion dollar verdict to right the wrongs done to them, I think it's an example of life immitating art. It reminds me of a case I read about where a burglar was up on a womans roof with the intentions of robbing her home. He fell through her sky light and sued her for his injuries. You would think that case would be a no brainer, but he won. Trial by jury, the thought sends shivers down my spine.
  7. 9
    Quote from Kooky Korky
    Who cares what they "go through"? When someone is damaged, it costs money to take care of them. Good feelings, reasonableness - these do not buy diapers, therapy, wheelchairs, hospital beds, remodeling of the home to accommodate the handicapped person, and on and on and on and on and on and on, etc.

    Doctors go to school and do a residency. yes, they're fallible and human, sure they agonize over many dilemmas and have to use judgment, no they're not always right. The outcome is horrendous when they guess wrongly.

    What about what the family has to "go through" and what the direct victim of the doctor's error has to "go through"?

    If any reform is needed, it should be in the amount the lawyers get from the plaintiffs. Reduce that to about 10%, down from the standard 33%. Now that would be reform.

    Who cares what runs through a healthcare professional's head? You should. Anyone who is a consumer should be concerned because there are some providers out there who are just plain negligent, and, more frighteningly, malicious. It's rare, but it happens. And they should be punished. But you should also care because there are providers out there who bear no ill will, who do everything they can for their patients, but things go wrong anyway by no fault of their own. And these people should not be prosecuted for something that is undeniably out of their control. You seem very concerned about justice for the patient, but what about justice for the provider?

    Malpractice insurance isn't available to provide free rides for people when life takes an unintentionally nasty turn--it's to protect providers from people like this, who take an unarguably horrible event and try to turn it into something it isn't.

    To argue that because a doctor's clinical judgment (which is very different from a guess, I assure you) was wrong, that doctor should have to pay for that child's healthcare for the rest of its life is ridiculous. Anyone who goes to a doctor must assume that the doctor, being human, is fallible. Unless that doctor acted in negligence or maliciously, then they have no ground upon which to sue them. They must also understand and accept that being human, the doctor cannot control the human body. Things can change in an instant and turn what was a sound decision 2 minutes ago into the worst decision of a provider's career (based on the evidence, this would appear to be the case here). The parents made the decision to seek medical assistance in the delivery of their infant. No one forced it upon them.

    Good feelings and reasonableness do not buy medical supplies, but neither should a doctor's malpractice insurance in a case like this. Things go wrong with or without the presence of healthcare professionals. Unless patients are willing to take the risk that the doctor's clinical judgment may, on occasion, be wrong, then they shouldn't go to a doctor.
    Last edit by SoldierNurse22 on Jun 5, '11
    leslie :-D, tablefor9, wooh, and 6 others like this.
  8. 2
    Quote from JG_0311
    Monday morning quaterback syndrome. It's very easy to tell everyone what the should have done if you already know how the situation played out. Juror's on medical cases should be in the medical profession, so that they can understand the difficulty involved in making a judgement call.
    I agree completely. The healthcare system is a sub-culture all its own with all the unique trappings--its own language, expectations of behavior, traditions, and rules that are undeniably different than the world outside. To call in people who have no knowledge of this world to make decisions that can end careers, break the bank or put people away for years is ridiculous.
    Mrs. SnowStormRN and Jolie like this.
  9. 2
    Decisions are made like these because all a jury can see is a severally damaged or dead baby.
    wooh and imintrouble like this.
  10. 9
    Quote from Jolie
    The jury was interviewed and stated, to a member, that they didn't really believe the OB was at fault, but they thought someone ought to pay the price for the couple's loss of their child. (Here's a novel idea...how about the parents!)

    The last I knew, the OB was no longer practicing. I don't know if her insurance company appealed the verdict.
    I'm so sorry for this OB. I bet she will never practice again. Her malpractice insurance would now be so ski high even working 24/7 wouldn't cover it. Very sad.

    Unfortunately I believe this is a big issue in our judicial system. By this juror's own admission they didn't do the job they were to do. They let their personal feelings interfere with what was right. If the doctor wasn't negligent, etc. they shouldn't have to pay. Period. Even sadder here is the real fault lies entirely with the parents and while I am sad they lost their child regardless of the circumstances, I am furious they made millions due to THEIR negligence. They let their baby down.
    '
    leslie :-D, wooh, DizzyLizzyNurse, and 6 others like this.


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