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Did hospital negligence lead the death of a new mother?

The surviving family members of a 25-year-old woman and the hospital they are suing do not agree on what caused her death, but they do agree on at least a couple of facts. The first is that the woman gave birth one day in June 2012, and the second is that she was dead approximately two days later. After that, as would be the case here in Illinois, the jury presiding over the case will need to decide whether hospital negligence did, in fact, lead to this woman's death.

Her labor was induced on June 14, 2012. After her son was born, she suffered from stabbing and aching pain in her stomach that she described as extreme. Medical personnel gave her medication for the pain, but reportedly did not make a diagnosis.

By the night of June 16, 2012, she was vomiting, in pain and experiencing chills. At that time, doctors diagnosed her with multiple organ failure, kidney failure and low blood pressure. By the next evening, she was dead.

The family of the Pennsylvania woman claims that an undiagnosed urinary tract infection caused her death. It is alleged that the woman had a history of urinary tract and kidney infections. Furthermore, just weeks before the birth, there was bacteria in her urine. The family says that these facts should have led to testing when she complained of pain. The hospital claims that the combination of other medical issues was responsible for her death, not a urinary tract infection.

Illinois families who believe that a loved one died due to hospital negligence retain the right to file a claim as this family did. If the evidence establishes that the care received by a deceased family member was not up to current medical standards, the court might consider awarding damages. In addition to any restitution the family might receive, it might help prompt changes in hospital procedures and protocols that could save another life.

Source:, "Family of new mother seeks damages in malpractice suit", James Halpin, Oct. 5, 2016

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