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Jun 2016

Susan Donnelly Murphy, along with Lisa Oliver White, recently obtained a jury verdict in favor of an obstetrician in a three week jury trial in which the plaintiff sought damages for the wrongful death of his wife during childbirth. 

The plaintiff’s wife died from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (“AFE”), a rare and often fatal condition in which amniotic fluid and cells enter the maternal circulation, causing a profound dramatic immune-like reaction in the mother. 

The plaintiff argued that the decedent also suffered from disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, and placental abruption, and that an earlier cesarean section could have prevented his wife’s death. 

Attorney Murphy argued (and the experts on both sides agreed) that AFEs are unpredictable, unpreventable, rare, often fatal, and without specific treatment.  She also argued that the obstetrician’s conduct was appropriate and within the standard of care, and there was nothing the doctor could have done to prevent the patient’s death from the vicious and capricious killer that is AFE.  The jury agreed and found for the defense.

Vasques v. BIDMC et al., sucv2011-3776-C (March 23, 2016)


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