Recently, a Virginia appellate court issued an opinion in a medical malpractice lawsuit after a trial court found that the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to survive a motion to strike. The case arose after a doctor placed a cervical cerclage in a woman who was at risk for preterm labor. The cerclage remained in place after the woman delivered her baby by Caesarean section (C-section). About two years later, the woman became pregnant again, and her treating doctor could not find the original cerclage, and he placed a new one in her cervix.
Following the placement, the woman complained of pain and discomfort, and her husband asked the doctor whether the woman might have an infection. The doctor dismissed the husband’s claims and did not investigate the issue. The woman continued to experience severe pain, and she called her practice for advice. Her treating doctor was not on-call, and another doctor directed her to take pain medication, without requesting an examination,
The woman continued to experience pain, and when she called back, the doctor finally advised her to go to the hospital. The emergency doctor treated her for severe infections and performed an emergency C-section. Tragically, the woman hemorrhaged to death following the surgery and died several days later. The woman’s husband filed a lawsuit against the two doctors alleging medical malpractice resulting in wrongful death. At trial, the husband presented evidence from two physicians who specialized in infectious diseases and fetal medicine. The experts testified that the doctor’s failure to investigate and treat the infection was a departure from accepted standards of medicine. The defendants moved to strike the evidence, arguing that it was insufficient to prove causation.