Expert Witness Case #1

Welcome to the first Expert Witness Newsletter case!

This case is one of the most shocking cases I have uncovered during years of research and having read hundreds of malpractice cases.

There are multiple unique factors in this case including:

  • the patient is a physician herself

  • 9 medical expert witnesses (most lawsuits only have one or two)

  • covers multiple specialties and subspecialties: EM, IM, OB/GYN, MFM, critical care, infectious disease, pathology and pharmacy

  • Billing reports for 3 of the experts

This case is so unique and extensive it will be covered in 2 separate emails.

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The case begins with a 37-year-old woman at 17 weeks gestation who presented to the ED with a fever. The patient was a physician herself, board certified in internal medicine. She is referred to as Dr. R in the following documents.

She initially went to ED triage, but was directed to L&D at 5:35pm. Initial vitals showed a temperature of 102.8F, heart rate of 120bpm and blood pressure of 91/67. She was evaluated by 2 OBGYN resident, both named Dr. G. Bedside ultrasound showed no heart rate, and she was sent to radiology for a formal ultrasound that confirmed fetal demise.

After returning from ultrasound, the OBGYN attending Dr. J saw the patient, performed a pelvic exam, and ordered antibiotics (clindamycin and gentamicin) that were reportedly started at 11:37pm (although this would later be questioned). She was admitted to the ICU due to concerns for septic shock. A stillborn fetus was delivered.

In the ICU, she was seen by a resident, Dr. K, and the ICU attending Dr. Z. She initially refused a central line and ABGs. There was a delay in giving her antibiotics for several hours as they had not been ordered stat. Over the next several days, her status continued to decline, and she died on October 2, 2011. 

Her family consulted with an attorney, and a lawsuit was filed against several physicians and nurses.

Multiple expert witnesses were hired by the plaintiffs. The EM expert witness opinion, Dr L, is shown here:

An expert with training in internal medicine, emergency medicine and critical care was hired by the plaintiffs. He is also named Dr. L.

The plaintiff’s third expert witness was an OBGYN, Dr. B.

The defense also hired multiple expert witnesses. In addition to reviewing the case, they also reviewed the plaintiff’s expert witness claims. Here the OBGYN expert witness for the defense gives her opinion.

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The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2013. After extensive negotiation over the next 2 years, it was ultimately settled before going to trial. The details of the settlement are confidential.

Based on the review of these expert witness opinions, do you feel that any of the physicians were negligent?

Do you feel that settling this case was the appropriate course of action for the defendants?

Are you surprised at the expert witness fees?

In the next few days, 5 more expert witness opinions about this case will be relased. These include defense opinions from EM, critical care, pathology, infectious disease, and a pharmacist.

If you enjoy reading these cases, consider a paid subscription to The Expert Witness Newsletter. Free subscribers will get access to several cases, but after May 2020 will only have access to one case per month.

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