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Jury says physician's assistant's negligence caused mother's death

A jury in a medical malpractice case has determined that the failure of a physician's assistant to appreciate the severity of a new mother's medical condition led to her death. The lawsuit had also alleged that numerous doctors were also culpable for the incident. The majority of those doctors settled their claims out of court.

In February of 2008 the mother gave birth to twin boys, seemingly without incident. Before the mother was released however she was diagnosed with pneumonia and provided a prescription for medication. Three times over the next few weeks she sought medical attention at the emergency room complaining of nausea and shortness of breath. On the final occasion she requested to be admitted to the hospital. Doctors later realized that was suffering from congestive heart failure.

Five days after she was admitted she suffered a stroke. After her stroke, doctors performed surgery in an attempt to remove the blood vessel that had ruptured in her brain. The mother died three days later, less than two months after giving birth.

The complaint against the physician's assistant alleged that he had failed to perform the proper diagnostics tests to rule out other potential causes for her symptoms beyond pneumonia, that he failed to recognize nature of her symptoms and had allowed her to be discharged rather than ordering that she be admitted for medical care.

There are few, if any, physical undertaking more taxing than childbirth. It is crucial that both the infant and the mother receive proper post-partum care to identify and diagnose any potential complications.

Source: The McDowell News "Jury awards $667,000 in medical malpractice suit," Richelle Bailey, Sept. 14, 2011

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