Minnesota State Jury Awards Widower $ 20.6 Million In Medical Malpractice Action Against Nurse Practitioner Who Failed To Diagnose Wife’s Serious And Fatal Postpartum Infection
On Aug. 20, 2012, Nicole Bermingham (age 30) gave birth to her first child. The labor had been difficult, lasting over 20 hours and leaving Nicole with significant vaginal tearing. On August 23, Nicole began experiencing chills, nausea, worsening vaginal pain, and fever. In the early morning of August 24, she reported to Abbott Northwestern Hospital's emergency department, where she was seen by Nurse Practitioner Patricia Eid. The lab work showed that Nicole had an elevated white blood cell count with a left shift and bandemia as well as an abnormally low platelet count of 50,000 (normal is 150,000 to 450,000). Although Nicole presented with classic symptoms of sepsis and there was no bacteria in her urine, NP Eid diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection and sent her home with amoxicillin and Tylenol. Nicole died two days later.
On Jan. 29, 2016, Nicole's widower, Edward Bermingham IV, filed a medical malpractice action against Patricia Eid, N.P. and her employer, Emergency Care Consultants, PA, in the Minnesota District Court for Hennepin County, Fourth Judicial District. Through the complaint, plaintiff alleged that defendants were negligent in failing to diagnose Nicole with sepsis and failing to provide immediate and appropriate treatment, including IV antibiotics.
Plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Harold C. Wiesenfeld, opined that NP Eid’s evaluation of Nicole departed from accepted standards of practice by failing to identify and communicate her complaints of vaginal and rectal pain, and tachycardia, leukocytosis, and thrombocytopenia, which demonstrated that she had developed systemic inflammatory response to an infection that required aggressive treatment including IV antibiotics and hospitalization.
Defendants subsequently admitted that NP Eid had been negligent in failing to appreciate either the significance of Nicole's diminished platelet count or the fact that she had developed systemic inflammatory response to an infection. The matter proceeded to a jury trial presided over by Judge Daniel H. Mabley on the issues of causation and damages only. On Aug. 28, 2017, the jury reached a verdict in plaintiff's favor, awarding a total of $20,600,000.00 in damages.
Plaintiff was represented by Elizabeth M. Fors and Chris Messerly of Robins Kaplan LLP.
Lexis Advance subscribers may view the complete summary, including expert information, here: Edward Bermingham IV, as trustee for the next-of-kin of Nicole Bermingham, v. Patricia Eid, N.P. and Emergency Care Consultants, PA; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 11479
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