pregnancy test

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC recently read about a medical situation that it feels is important to share. In mid-February an undetected ectopic pregnancy in a California woman left her in a coma. According to ABC News, the family is blaming the hospital, claiming that the doctors there failed to realize she was experiencing a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and bleeding internally.

According to the patient’s family, Lisa Avila, who was 12 weeks pregnant, woke up with severe abdominal pain on February 14th of this year. She went to the emergency room at Anaheim Regional Medical Center, where an ultrasound was performed. The doctors in the ER said her baby was fine and sent her away with prescription pain killers. ABC News reports that “Afterward, her husband left her in their car while he went into a pharmacy, and when he returned, Avila was unconscious and not breathing … Paramedics rushed her back to the same hospital, where they learned Avila had an ectopic pregnancy, meaning the fetus was developing outside the uterus.” She needed emergency surgery and fell into a coma the next day.

The hospital released the following statement: “Patient safety is Anaheim Regional Medical Center’s foremost priority and we are committed to providing the highest quality care to every patient we serve. The physicians, nurses and staff at Anaheim Regional Medical Center care deeply for the health of this patient and our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.”

Dr. Keith Eddleman, director of obstetrics at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan was quoted as saying, “If you have a patient in the first trimester with abdominal pain and bleeding and you can’t see the pregnancy inside the uterus—and you have a positive pregnancy test—you have to assume it’s ectopic until proven otherwise because it is life-threatening.”

As medical malpractice attorneys, Berkowitz and Hanna LLC is aware that medical mistakes can have dire consequences. If the Avila family sues the doctors or hospital for medical malpractice, the question will be whether they deviated from the standard of care in this situation.

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Image by Thomas Widmann via Flickr.com