Morrison Mahoney Partner Jim Bello and Associate Stephen Orlando achieved a defense verdict following a four-week trial in Norfolk Superior Court.
The case involved the death of a 36-year-old woman following the birth of her fourth child at a local hospital. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent died as a result of the physician-defendants’ failure to monitor and treat the decedent’s postpartum hemorrhage. The defendants asserted that the decedent died as a result of a rare condition known as Amniotic Fluid Embolism, which is an unpreventable, untreatable, and fatal syndrome. On cross-examination of the plaintiff’s expert, Jim established that the expert relied on the decedent’s Hematocrit levels as a “fundamental part of her entire opinion.” Jim then showed the expert the record containing the Hematocrit level. The expert, for the first time on cross examination, realized that she was wrong in her understanding of the Hematocrit level. Consequently, the expert conceded that several of her opinions in the case were wrong and that the physician complied with the standard of care in many aspects of his treatment.
Another critical aspect of the case was the patient’s condition at the time the defendant-physician last saw her prior to sign-out. Stephen elicited testimony from the decedent’s partner that, prior to the physician leaving the hospital, the decedent looked “perfect” and had no complaints or concerns.
This was a difficult case given the age of the decedent and the very sad loss for her husband and four children. The jury deliberated for 27 hours before returning a verdict of no negligence on behalf of the physician.