$500,000 Verdict – Defendant ob/gyn fails to discover ectopic pregnancy when terminating intrauterine pregnancy

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Reported in Zarin’s Jury Verdicts (jvra.com):

The plaintiff, 33 at the time contended that the defendant ob/gyn and her associated clinic, negligently failed to observe a second, ectopic pregnancy (“heterotopic pregnancy”) when she confirmed an intrauterine pregnancy. The plaintiff indicated that she did not choose to have a baby at this time because she was caring for her ailing grandmother. The plaintiff, who had a family history of twins, asserted that the defendant negligently failed to note a second, ectopic pregnancy on ultrasound. The intrauterine pregnancy was terminated, and 12 days later, the plaintiff suffered extensive pain and was taken by ambulance to the non-party hospital where it was determined that a fallopian tube had ruptured.

The defendant contended that the diagnosis of an intrauterine pregnancy rendered the chances of a second ectopic pregnancy to be very remote; and that the failure of the defendant to diagnose it was not a deviation. The defendant also maintained that the six week 3 day old ectopic pregnancy might not be visible on ultrasound. The plaintiff denied these positions should be accepted, and contended that the heterotopic pregnancy should have been visible on ultrasound and detected by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed that had a proper diagnosis been made, the ectopic pregnancy could have been addressed medically.

The plaintiff contended that she suffered extensive pain that will continue to some extent permanently.
The plaintiff also asserted that her chances of future conception have been reduced.
The defendant denied that the plaintiff will suffer pain the future or that her chances of conception have been reduced.

The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded $500,000, including $350,000 for past pain and suffering and $150,000 for future pain and suffering. The Court denied defendant’s post trial motion to dismiss the jury verdict with respect to future damages. The defendant’s remaining post trial motions are pending.