Young couples in Pennsylvania often have big plans for their future. This often includes the number of children they intend to have. Unfortunately, any future plans for expanding their family were dashed for one out-of-state couple after a doctor failed to provide alternatives to a hysterectomy after a women suffered heavy bleeding following a cesarean section. A federal judge recently ruled against the doctor who performed the procedures in the medical malpractice lawsuit that followed.
Days after she delivered her first child, a 24-year-old woman returned to a hospital due to heavy vaginal bleeding. Despite the bleeding, test results indicated that she was not suffering as a result of an unstable blood pressure. Hours later, the defendant -- who is considered a federal employee because the clinic that employs him receives federal funds -- informed her that she needed to undergo a procedure known as a dilation and curettage. Although she was reportedly informed that the procedure could convert to a hysterectomy, she reportedly informed the doctor that she planned to have more children.
Following the procedure, the woman continued to bleed, prompting the doctor to perform the hysterectomy. The judge in the case noted that there are multiple other treatments the doctor could have attempted that would have negated the need of a hysterectomy, many of which would have only taken seconds to perform. As a result, the judge awarded the woman and her husband the maximum allowed under West Virginia law as states caps are still in place in that jurisdiction, even in federal cases.
When a person is in their early 20s, they still have a great deal of time to definitively decide on the size of the family. Unfortunately, that decision was taken from this couple. While their successful medical malpractice lawsuit will not change the outcome of her medical treatment, it could provide them some comfort in knowing that their actions will protect future patients from similar treatment. Those in Pennsylvania suffering from similar issues also have the option of pursuing justice in a civil court.