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$20 million verdict in medical malpractice lawsuit

New parents in New Jersey likely have certain expectations for the days and weeks following the birth of their child. They likely plan to spend days recovering from the delivery as well as getting to know their new son or daughter. Unfortunately for one family in another state, the days after the birth of their new son turned into a nightmare that led to the death of the child's mother; her husband has since been awarded millions in damages due to medical malpractice.

Court papers indicate that the woman experienced 20 hours of labor before having a delivery described as "difficult." Not long after she went home, she reportedly began experiencing nausea, chills, fever and worsening pain. She went to the hospital where she was treated by one of the defendants in the case.

Although blood tests revealed classic symptoms of sepsis -- elevated white blood cell count and low platelet count -- the nurse practitioner diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection even though no bacteria was present. The new mother was sent home but returned to the emergency room after her condition worsened and she lost unconsciousness. She, unfortunately, passed away.

A jury recently ruled against the nurse practitioner who treated the woman as well as the company that hired her, awarding the victim's husband over $20.6 million in past and future losses in the medical malpractice lawsuit. While no person is perfect, patients and their families should be able to reasonably expect an accurate diagnosis when it is fully supported by tests. Many people in New Jersey who have lost a loved one due to a doctor or nurse practitioner's negligence often choose to take action to prevent similar tragedies in the future; in the many cases, this involves filing a lawsuit against the party or parties believed responsible.

Source: kstp.com, "Family of Woman who Died after Childbirth Gets $20M in Malpractice Suit", Michael Oakes, Aug. 29, 3017

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