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DEFENDANTS Obstetrical Malpractice - Misdiagnosis of ectopic pregnancy results in termination of otherwise viable pregnancy - Emotional distress to mother.

New York County, New York

This was an obstetrical malpractice case in which the plaintiff contended that as a result of the defendant’s misdiagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, she terminated a viable pregnancy. The plaintiff maintained that after discovering the pregnancy was, in fact, viable, she suffered severe emotional distress at the loss of the pregnancy. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was properly informed of the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy and that he did not deviated in coming to that diagnosis.

The evidence adduced at trial showed that the plaintiff was a patient at North Shore University Hospital. The plaintiff maintained that following prenatal testing including a sonogram, the defendant diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy. The plaintiff related that following the diagnosis, she was advised that termination of the pregnancy was advisable due to the severe risks inherent in such a pregnancy. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant then terminated her pregnancy based upon the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy. The plaintiff claimed that after the termination, she was discovered that the pregnancy was, in fact, a uterine pregnancy.

The defendant maintained that the testing performed strongly indicated an ectopic pregnancy. The defendant further maintained that the plaintiff had made the informed decision to terminate the pregnancy. The defendant’s expert ob/gyn testified that with the information available to the defendant at the time, it was entirely reasonable to come to the conclusion that the pregnancy was, in fact, ectopic and that the best course to follow would be to terminate the pregnancy. The defense utilized a clinical presentation as well as the sonographic findings to support this argument.

The jury deliberated for five hours before finding that negligence had not been established. The jury then voted 6-0 in favor of the defendant.

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