Case Study: Settling a Disastrous Case with Self-Insured Codefendants

A 29-year-old female had a positive pregnancy test in February 2006. She was seen by her obstetrician one month later for blood work, a PAP smear, and confirmation of her estimated due date, or “EDC,” which was September 16, 2006. The next day, she went to the emergency department (ED) of Hospital 1 complaining of fever and spotting, for which she was evaluated and discharged without any definitive treatment or workup. She subsequently went to Hospital 2 four days later, still complaining of fever. She was diagnosed with a viral syndrome and discharged. The next day, she returned to her obstetrician, who also diagnosed a viral syndrome and prescribed Zithromax.

The following day, the patient was admitted to Hospital 2. She was seen by an infectious disease consultant, who recommended TORCH studies. Although her amniotic fluid levels were within normal limits, her obstetrician suspected that her membranes had ruptured, resulting in chorioamnionitis. Because of this concern, the physician discussed with the patient the possibility of terminating the pregnancy, but she declined. The physician prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics and, when the TORCH studies were negative, the patient was discharged.

To continue reading this case study, in which arduous negotiations took place and a total settlement of $4.29 million was reached, click here (article begins on page 2). A legal and risk management perspective is also included.