Duarte v. Defendant Obstetrician/Gynecologist

  • Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (McCarthy)11/02/2007
    Counsel: Sherri M. Arrigo
    Client: Defendant Obstetrician/Gynecologist
    Outcome: Defense Verdict

Synopsis:

The defendant performed an elective dilation and evacuation procedure ("D&E") to terminate the plaintiff's second trimester pregnancy due to fetal anomalies.

In the recovery room after the D&E, the patient developed signs of uterine hemorrhage and was returned to surgery, where two uterine perforations and a bowel injury were repaired. The patient was stable overnight in the intensive care unit but developed signs of bleeding again the following morning and was returned to the operating room for a third surgery, during which the defendant OB/GYN performed a hysterectomy to control uterine bleeding. As a result, the 27-year old plaintiff is unable to bear more children.

It was undisputed that the uterine injuries were caused by the D&E; however, the plaintiff's expert acknowledged that uterine perforation is a known risk of D&E and did not criticize the defendant's performance of that procedure.

Plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently failed to suture the perforation during the third surgery and performed an unnecessary hysterectomy.

The defense successfully argued that bleeding could not be controlled despite reasonable conservative measures and the hysterectomy was not only necessary, but life-saving.

The jury deliberated for two hours, inclusive of lunch, and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.