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Lawsuit Argues Negligence Led to Post C-Section Hysterectomy

pregnant motherRespiratory problems, low APGAR scores, premature birth and oxygen deprivation to the fetus are just some of the risks posed to the infant during a Cesarean section delivery. But mothers also face C-section dangers, ranging from infection and internal adhesions to the need for additional surgeries in the event of post-op complications.

According to accusations leveled in a recent medical malpractice lawsuit, the negligence of the plaintiff’s on-call doctor following a routine C-section resulted in the loss of her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, which were removed in an emergency hysterectomy.

The case was filed in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii and names as defendant the United States of America, which operates the Maui Memorial Medical Center where the plaintiff delivered her child.

Plaintiff alleges substandard care post C-section

The complaint states that the plaintiff, a resident of Honolulu, arrived at the Maui Memorial Medical Center on September 19, 2011 for a scheduled repeat C-section. The delivery was performed successfully and without complication by her own physician. The mother was left in the charge of the “on-call” doctor, who is alleged to have acted with gross negligence by failing to promptly diagnose and treat the plaintiff after her health began rapidly deteriorating.

Her post-partum medical charts indicated that she was pale and cool, tachycardic, and had low blood pressure and heart rate. Attending nurses alerted the on-call physician about the plaintiff’s condition by telephone, who ordered Lactated Ringers, intravenous bolus and intravenous Phenergan as necessary.

Despite these measures, the claimant’s blood pressure and heart rate continued to drop and she began to bleed heavily from the perineal area. The hemorrhaging persisted with heavy clots, accompanied by tenderness in the bladder region upon palpation. The defendant doctor then ordered an Ephedrine injection and a complete blood count.

The tests revealed dangerously low hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, prompting the doctor to order a blood transfusion. After the transfusion, the plaintiff’s blood pressure remained low and she continued to bleed heavily while complaining of increased pain.

At this juncture her own treating physician suggested a D&C (dilation and curettage procedure) given her low platelet and hemoglobin levels. Before the operation, he explained the inherent risks, which included a hysterectomy.

Plaintiff forced to have hysterectomy

Unfortunately, the D&C procedure and other medical interventions failed to stop the bleeding. The plaintiff’s doctor then proceeded with a hysterectomy, removing the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. This form of “surgically-induced menopause” has caused the plaintiff – a woman still of childbearing age — a great deal of emotional distress and physical suffering.

The case contends that had the defendant doctor properly attended to and cared for the plaintiff, she would not have had to undergo the D&C and hysterectomy and would be able to have more children with her husband.

The couple is suing on counts of medical negligence, respondeat superior, and loss of consortium. Filed on February 13, 2015, the lawsuit is demanding $1,000,000 in compensatory, special and general damages plus attorney and legal fees.

  1. WebMD, Cesarean Section - Risks and Complications

  2., Risks Of A Cesarean Procedure