After four hours of deliberation, a Montgomery County Ohio jury awarded a verdict of $6,067,830 to the widower of a 34 year old pregnant woman who died after physicians and hospital staff failed to diagnose pre-eclampsia and eclampsia during the course of her pregnancy while in the care of Good Samaritan Hospital and Dr. Cheryl Gill. The verdict included $2,250,000 for the wrongful death, $2,149,378 for loss of future earnings and $1,668,452 in other damages. Karla Fountaine became pregnant in mid-2008 and went to family practitioner Dr. Cheryl Gill for management of her pregnancy. The pregnancy continued to be uneventful until February 29, 2009. On that date Karla Fountaine complained to Dr. Gill that she developed a cough, headaches, she had gained an unusual amount of weight and her blood pressure had increased from her baseline, which are signs and symptoms associated with pre-eclampsia. Two days later,
Karla Fountaine called Dr. Gill and complained of vaginal bleeding. Karla was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital from February 28, 2009 until March 3, 2009. During her admission, hospital tests revealed other classic signs of pre-eclampsia including, elevated blood pressures, intrauterine growth restrictions, dropping platelets, increased Alkaline Phosphate and grossly increaded D-Dimer amongst others. Despite all these tests and symptoms, no obstetrical consultation was requested by Dr. Gill and Karla Fountaine was discharged from the hospital.
Later that afternoon, Karla Fountaine returned to the hospital with extremely high blood pressures, headaches and vomiting upon which she was readmitted. Dr. Gill did not go to the hospital to see her patient. During the early morning hours of March 4, 2009 the nurse found Karla Fountaine partly unconscious and called a code on the patient. An emergency C-Section was performed to save Karla Fountaine’s baby. Unfortunately, Karla Fountaine’s condition continued to deteriorate and she passed. A CT scan was performed which showed a hypertensive bleed and the autopsy performed identified the cause of death as Intracerebral hemorrhage. The medical examiner and other physicians found that the hemorrhage was clearly brought upon by the failure to treat Karla Fountaine’s pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.
The case was defended by
Neil Freund and Shannon Bockelman of Freund, Freeze, and Arnold. Our experts included: Frank Manning, M.D. OB/Gyn, MFM Tuckahoe, NY Harlan Giles, M.D., Ob/Gyn El Paso, TX Kevin Ferentz, M.D., Family Practice, Baltimore, M.D. James Abrahams, M.D., Neuroradiologist, New Haven, CT Mary Case, M.D., Neuropathologist, ST. Louis, MO John Burke, Ph.D., Economist, Cleveland, OH
Their Experts included:
Baha Sibai, M.D., Ob/GYN, MFM, Houston, TX Steven Eisinger, M.D., Ob/GYN Rochester, NY