Vaginal Birth after Cesarean Section (VBAC); Uterine Scar Rupture- $4 Million Jury Verdict

A 34-year-old patient, Sally Arbogast, underwent a vaginal delivery but experienced sharp abdominal pain and moderate bleeding right afterward.  She had delivered her last child by a Cesarean section. The obstetrician who cared for her performed a manual exploration and curettage procedure to rule out uterine scar rupture and later diagnosed uterine atony — a loss of tone in the muscles in the uterus.  It has been noted that 90% of all postpartum bleedings are associated with uterine atony, which is the failure of the uterine muscles to contract normally after the baby and placenta are delivered.

For an hour and a half, Arbogast remained hypotensive and tachycardic. Her blood work showed lower hemoglobin and hematocrit levels compared to before the baby was born.

While the doctors were looking into the patient’s hypotension, she coded.  After resuscitation measures and a blood transfusion, Arbogast received multiple units of packed blood cells and fresh frozen plasma over the next five hours.

Then another obstetrician, who had taken over the patient’s care, ordered a hysterectomy to take care of the uncontrolled bleeding.  During that surgery, it was revealed that she had a uterine scar defect, which was the source of the bleeding.  Arbogast coded again.  She remained on a ventilator to promote her breathing for 9 days and in the process, she suffered renal failure.  After her hospital release she required extensive rehabilitation and later required a kidney transplant.  She continues to suffer memory loss and requires lifelong medication to decrease the chances of organ rejection by her body.

The patient sued the two obstetricians’ medical groups alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat a uterine scar rupture by performing exploratory surgery within two hours of the delivery.  The lawsuit did not make a claim for lost income.  The jury returned a verdict of $4 million for the damages attributable to this ordeal.

The attorneys representing Sally Arbogast were Stephanie E. Grana, Irvin Cantor and Elliott Buckner.

Arbogast v. Summit Health Care, Inc., No. CL-12-2229 (Va., Chesterfield Co. Cir., July 26, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, obstetrician negligence cases and birth injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Niles, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Wheeling, Palatine, Schiller Park, Schaumburg, Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Harvey, Dolton, Palos Heights, Chicago (Riverdale, Lake Calumet, Englewood, Marquette Park), Burr Ridge, Lemont and Hickory Hills, Ill.

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