$24.5 Million Jury Verdict in Wrongful Death in Failure to Treat Placenta Accrete

Lilia Torres, 34, began spotting during the eighth week of her pregnancy. She went to a hospital where she had an ultrasound. She later followed up with her treating obstetrician after receiving a diagnosis of placental previa and possible placental accrete, a condition in which the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine wall. For the remaining period of her pregnancy, she saw several obstetricians and midwives at the same medical practice.

At 39 weeks of gestation, two of the obstetricians performed a cesarean section the day after the procedure was scheduled. After the delivery, Torres suffered massive blood loss.

Torres, who lost at least ten liters of blood, suffered cardiogenic and pulmonary shock. Shortly afterward, she died of complications of hemorrhagic shock and multi-organ failure. She was survived by her husband and her four minor children.

Torres’s husband, individually and on behalf of the Torres estate and the couple’s children, sued the obstetricians who provided prenatal care to Torres, two obstetricians who performed the delivery and their employers under a vicarious liability theory, alleging that they chose not to treat placental accrete and perform a timely hysterectomy.

The Torres family asserted that Torres should have undergone an MRI to rule out placental accrete. Their suit also asserted that Torres should have delivered her baby at 34-36 weeks in the presence of a multidisciplinary team, and that she should have received a higher incision to avoid cutting into the placenta.

In normal pregnancies and deliveries, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall after childbirth.

A placenta accrete is a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. With the placenta accrete, part or all the placenta remains attached, which causes a severe blood loss after delivery such as what happened to Torres.

A hysterectomy is the most logical choice of treatment. There is no specific cause of a placenta accrete; however, a cesarean delivery increases the possibility of a future placenta accrete. A warning sign of a placental accrete is bleeding during the third trimester. When that occurs, a premature delivery generally takes place and is the standard of care.

In some cases when the condition is severe enough, as in this case, an emergency hysterectomy is one of the surgical options.

This lawsuit did not claim lost income. The jury signed a verdict for and in favor of the Torres family in the amount of $24.5 million.

At trial, the plaintiff’s experts included a maternal fetal medicine physician.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case were Daniel Harwin and Todd Michaels.

Chavez v. Gonzalez-Garcia, No. CACE 18001011 (25) (Fla. Cir. Ct. Broward County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth trauma injury lawsuits, wrongful death cases, medical negligence cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits and labor and delivery negligence cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Countryside, Hickory Hills, Oak Forest, Orland Hills, Tinley Park, Olympia Fields, Chicago Heights, South Holland, Harvey, Bedford Park, Highwood, Lake Forest, Lake Barrington, Barrington Hills, Fox River Grove, Bartlett, Streamwood, St. Charles, Aurora, Batavia, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Crystal Lake, Gurnee, Chicago (Roseland, Washington Heights, Washington Park, Jackson Park, East Side, Bronzeville, Back of the Yards, Archer Heights, North Lawndale, West Town, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, Portage Park, Irving Park, Ravenswood, Lakeview, Uptown, West Ridge), Norridge, Franklin Park and Western Springs, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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