A Mississippi woman whose doctor performed four surgeries on her -- including an abdominal hysterectomy -- within hours after she gave birth in 2016 has prevailed in court. She was awarded $2.4 million in a malpractice suit against her obstetrician. The Lowndes County jury announced the award earlier this month.
According to the lawsuit, the Hamilton woman's uterus ruptured during childbirth at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. Her obstetrician performed the surgical procedures to stem the loss of blood caused by the rupture.
The suit claimed that the Columbus doctor was guilty of multiple negligent acts. He allegedly induced labor even though the baby's head wasn't positioned properly and then waited too long before deciding to deliver the baby via cesarean section. Further, the woman's attorney asserted that the doctor left his patient and went home more than once while she was still experiencing severe bleeding. He summed the situation up as "just a lack of care."
Further, the patient had to undergo yet another operation (performed by a different doctor) later the same day to repair the damage done to multiple organs, including her bladder, that she suffered during the previous surgeries.
The obstetrician's attorney argued that uterine ruptures during childbirth are very rare and can be fatal to both the mother and baby. He claimed that his client "was using his best judgment in a difficult situation that, quite frankly, he had never seen before." The doctor stated when he testified during the trial that he "acted in the best interest of the patient."
The obstetrician, who is in private practice in Columbus, had his OB privileges suspended earlier this year by the hospital where the 2016 incident took place. He has reportedly sought privileges at North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point. The hospital hasn't yet approved his application.
We entrust our health and often our lives to medical professionals. When they fail to provide proper medical care, patients can and should hold them accountable. Through malpractice suits, Mississippians can get the compensation they need and deserve and help alert others to negligent or just plain incompetent providers.