School Teacher’s Death During Childbirth Prompts $6.5M Verdict
The $6.5 million verdict set a State of Kansas record for medical malpractice. Edgar and Zander Perez were each awarded half of the total after Edgar’s wife Lindsey died in childbirth. Zander, who is the three-year-old son of Edgar and Lindsey, will spend the rest of his life without his mother, and his father will now have to raise two children on his own.
Lindsey Perez was a popular drama teacher at a Kansas middle school. The case is one of the first lawsuits to be filed after Kansas’s Supreme Court struck down damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits.
The incident occurred in 2015. Edgar claims that the hospital failed to recognize signs that his wife was in distress during and after childbirth. Doctors had diagnosed Lindsey Perez with preeclampsia, which is characterized by a spike in blood pressure. Generally, hospitals will attempt to immediately induce labor if the mother shows signs of preeclampsia.
The defendants claimed that they first tried to induce labor and then attempted to deliver the baby via c-section. At some point, Mrs. Perez complained of an inability to see. Eventually, her vision did return, but instead of taking Mrs. Perez to ICU, they set up her up in a regular hospital room. Mrs. Perez asked Mr. Perez to run home and grab some of her things, but when he returned, doctors were trying to revive her. Ultimately, they failed.
At some point during the process, Mrs. Perez was given a lethal amount of IV fluids, which she began coughing up through her lungs. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to fluid build-up in the lungs.
While the Kansas Supreme Court lifted the cap on pain and suffering damages, it has yet to lift the cap on bereavement damages, which are awarded to survivors in wrongful death actions. In this case, the jury awarded $1 million in bereavement damages which are still subject to a $250,000 cap according to state law. Their attorney, however, plans on challenging the constitutionality of the cap.
Here in Florida, a similar battle was fought. Eventually, the Florida Supreme Court decided that damage caps (which were only established for medical malpractice cases) violated the State’s Equal Protection Amendment.
Birth injuries suffered by mothers remain a serious problem here in the U.S. where we rank last of all developed nations in providing safe medical services to American mothers. Time and again, those in lower-income areas face problems with understaffed hospitals who provide substandard care to their patients, fail to follow up with mothers who have just given birth, or provide baffling medical procedures like administering enough IV fluids to drown a patient.
Talk to a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you’ve lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, talk to the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney at Masterson & Hoag, P.A. today to set up a free consultation. We can help.