Case #4021 Undiagnosed and Untreated Molar Pregnancy Lead to Malignancy
In July, the Plaintiff presented to the Defendant for a gynecologic procedure. She was diagnosed with a molar pregnancy and instructed to obtain three beta hCG studies and a chest x-ray before her follow up appointment in two weeks. The Plaintiff underwent the chest x-ray, which was normal. She underwent the blood tests which revealed an elevated beta hCG level that was decreasing with each test. On July 28 the Plaintiff returned to the Defendant who told her that she only needed to have one additional blood test performed and then she would be finished with her treatment. The Plaintiff had the blood test on July 31 and it revealed an increase in the beta hCG level. A decreasing beta hCG is a reassuring sign but an increasing beta hCG level indicates the ongoing presence of molar pregnancy which, if untreated, can become malignant/metastatic. The standard of care required the Defendant to notify the Plaintiff of the increase in her beta hCG and refer her immediately to a GYN oncologist for treatment, which would have been limited to chemotherapy. The Defendant never notified the Plaintiff of the increased beta hCG and never referred her to a GYN oncologist.
In October the Plaintiff suddenly experienced massive vaginal bleeding. She went to an emergency room where her beta hCG level was severely elevated in excess of 200,000. A dilitation and curettage was performed. However the Plaintiff was noted to have a uterine hemorrhage and she was anemic. She was transferred to another hospital where she came under the care of a GYN oncologist. She was rushed to the operating room where her bleeding could not be contained. Therefore, she underwent a hysterectomy at age 21. Also, by then her molar pregnancy had spread outside of the uterus and into her lungs. As a result, underwent several months of chemotherapy which was longer and more intense than if she had been treated earlier. She had multiple hospitalizations. She also experienced nausea, vomiting, fatigue and hair loss. She experienced depression with the realization that she will never be able to bear children.
This case was tried before a jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff and awarded $1,000,000.00 in non-economic/pain and suffering damages and $70,636.27 in economic damages.