On April 6, 2022 Partner Allan M. Siegel obtained a jury verdict of $17,107,000 in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. This was a wrongful death case that arose as a result of negligent treatment at the Washington Hospital Center’s Women’s Wellness Clinic. Our client’s sister (the decedent) presented to the Washington Women’s Wellness Center complaining of vaginal bleeding, which she had been experiencing for two weeks. She was seen by a nurse practitioner. Unfortunately, she had an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing fetus. As the fetus grows, it will cause the fallopian tube to rupture. This will cause excessive bleeding, and will likely lead to death.
The nurse practitioner failed to diagnose the ectopic pregnancy, and sent the decedent home. She further instructed her to come back to the clinic to obtain follow-up bloodwork. The decedent did not understand the deadly nature of her condition and did not return to get the bloodwork. Unfortunately, the ectopic pregnancy ruptured on February 17, 2022, causing the decedent’s death.
The jury found the hospital negligent and found that the nurse practitioner failed to properly inform the decedent of her potentially fatal condition. The jury awarded $15,000,000 to the decedent’s three minor children for loss of education, guidance, and support, $500,000 for 30 minutes of the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering, and $1,607,000 for lost wages and lost household services.
While nothing can be done to erase this unnecessary tragedy, we are glad that we were able to obtain justice for this family, and provide financial support for these minor children.