Woman Sues Hospital And Claims Negligent Postpartum Procedure

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Anthem alleged the need for emergency corrective surgery and emotional distress. She was seeking damages for past pain and suffering.


On June 1, 2006, plaintiff Ruth Anthem, 24, a certified nursing assistant, was admitted to Sutter Memorial Hospital for a scheduled Caesarean section by her primary OB-GYN. The surgery went forward, and Anthem’s son was born.

On June 2, Anthem’s regular OB-GYN followed her and then OB-GYN Jeffery Worth assumed her care while on-call over the weekend. On June 3, Worth evaluated Anthem in the morning, noting that she was afebrile and doing well. He examined the abdominal incision from the C-section and did not note any problems. Worth made orders for removal of the skin clips to be replaced by steri-strips in anticipation of discharge home.

The nursing staff contacted Worth later that afternoon to confirm his orders and advise of a small amount of serosanguineous drainage from the incision, though the clips remained intact and wound edges well-approximated. Worth reiterated that it was okay to proceed with the clip removal and placement of steri-strips.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The nurse called Worth back about 45 minutes later to advise that there was an approximate 1-inch wide opening of the outer skin layers along the incision after the clips were removed and steri-strips placed. Worth said that it was still okay to have Anthem discharged home, as the steri-strips remained in place.

Subsequently, Anthem went to the bathroom in her hospital room as she was getting ready to go home and noticed a strange sensation in the area of her incision. Nursing staff brought her back to her bed and determined that she had experienced a wound dehiscence of the underlying fascia, resulting in the exposure of a portion of her intestines through the incision line. Worth was contacted and returned to the hospital, where he took Anthem to the operating room and performed surgical repair of the dehiscence that same evening. On June 6, Anthem was discharged home with no further complications.

Anthem sued Worth, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sutter Memorial and OB-GYN Grason Dirk. Sutter Health, Sutter Memorial and Dirk were dismissed, and the case went to trial only against Worth.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Worth breached the standard of care by inadequately evaluating Anthem on the morning of June 3 and for failing to go to the hospital as a result of the first two phone calls by nursing staff regarding the noted serosanguineous drainage and opening in the outer layers of her skin.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Worth’s follow up was inadequate and that the post-operative drainage was significant enough to warrant an examination.

Worth denied any wrongdoing, asserting that he met the standard of care in all respects. Defense counsel argued that there was minimal serosanguineous drainage on June 3. Defense counsel contended that openings, such as the 1-inch-wide one on the outer skin layers, often healed on an outpatient basis.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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