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Widower Granted New Trial After Wife Died During Pregnancy


A Charlottesville widower has been granted a new trial by the state Supreme Court of Virginia against two doctors after his wife died in their care from E. coli infection while pregnant. His medical malpractice lawsuit was initially filed in 2015 after his wife died in 2013 due to complications from the infection while she was pregnant. Her husband filed suit against two doctors and the hospital they worked for alleging that his wife did not receive proper care and had she received timely treatment, she would still be alive.

During the first trial, which occurred in 2018, medical experts testified that the standard of care provided to the plaintiff’s wife was below what would be expected as an industry standard. The judge in the trial decided to strike the evidence ruling that the evidence was insufficient to prove causation. The plaintiff appealed this ruling and was recently granted a new trial.

Why Was the Plaintiff Granted a New Trial 

In personal injury or tort cases, trial court judges are required to view information in a light that is most favorable for the moving party before deciding to strike the evidence from the record. The Virginia Supreme Court decided that the lower court failed to so and erred in this decision.

Judges are allowed to rule on matters of law, but the purpose of a trial is to allow the jury to decide the truth based on the best available evidence.

The Facts of the Case 

The first complaint alleged that the doctor attending to the mother was diagnosed with an incomplete cervix which can lead to premature birth. The remedy for such an issue is to create cervical cerclage (a stitch to reinforce the cervix) to prevent the child from being delivered prematurely. When the baby was born, the stitch was left in place.

The mother became pregnant again in 2013, and the doctor placed another cervical cerclage in the birth canal after being unable to find the first one. After five months of pregnancy, the mother reported experiencing pain in her abdomen. The plaintiff allegedly asked if his wife might have an infection, but the attending doctor denied the possibility. The mother again reported pain two days later and the doctor prescribed pain medication over the phone. After that, her doctor recommended that she go to the hospital.

The mother had to be transferred to another hospital (The University of Virginia Medical Center) which was not named in the suit after the cervical cerclage ruptured. She experienced heavy bleeding, fever, and organ dysfunction. The UVA doctors diagnosed her with chorioamnionitis, which is an infection attacking fetal membranes. She was later diagnosed with E. coli. Doctors performed an emergency delivery during which she lost a great deal of blood and later died.

Talk to a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve lost a loved one due to medical negligence, the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorney at Masterson & Hoag, P.A. can help you with your claim against a doctor or hospital. Call today for a free consultation.




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