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Medical Malpractice: First District Awards New Trial in Birth Case Resulting in Death of Mother

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Firm News

In Perez v. St. Alexius Medical Center, the First District Appellate Court recently awarded the plaintiff a new trial in a medical malpractice case where a woman died after giving birth to twin boys. The plaintiff, the independent executor of the deceased mother’s estate, brought suit against a radiologist, alleging that he was negligent for failing to review a CT scan which showed a teratoma on her left ovary prior to her undergoing in vitro fertilization. The mother then proceeded with in vitro fertilization and became pregnant. During the pregnancy, the teratoma ruptured causing metastatic cancer to spread throughout her body. She then had a C-section, but passed away seven months after the birth from the metastatic cancer.

During the trial, the radiologist testified that he did not know about the CT scan showing the teratoma. Plaintiff attempted impeach his testimony with his pretrial disclosures, which indicated that he would testify that he did in fact review the CT scan, but the trial court barred this impeachment. Further, the plaintiff submitted a modified jury instruction to the court regarding the issue of whether the radiologist was an agent of St. Alexius Medical Center, but the court refused the instruction.

On appeal, the court held that the trial court had erred in: (1) failing to allow the plaintiff to impeach the radiologist with his pretrial disclosures, and (2) refusing the plaintiff’s modified jury instruction. The court then awarded a new trial.

To read the full decision, click here.

Arlo Walsman