- A physician affiliated with the AdventHealth system in Illinois diagnosed a woman as having a miscarriage but later discovered a fetal heartbeat during a procedure to remove what was presumed to be an unviable fetus.
- The baby later died from complications of the procedure, according to the mother’s lawyer.
- The $5.2 million award is the highest reported in Illinois for a miscarriage case.
11 July 2022 | A physician affiliated with the AdventHealth system in Illinois, U.S., diagnosed a woman with miscarriage, only to discover a fetal heartbeat during a procedure to remove the fetus. The baby later died of complications from the surgery. On July 5, 2022, a jury awarded a record $5.2 million to the woman who was told she had a miscarriage, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
The physician, a doctor with Adventist Health Partners, performed a first-trimester ultrasound on Grace Orozco in November 2015. The physician told Orozco the baby did not have a heartbeat and that she had miscarried.
A procedure to remove what was presumed to be an unviable fetus was scheduled about a week later at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, located near Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is part of the AdventHealth health care system. AdventHealth is headquartered in Florida, U.S., but operates 50 hospitals in 9 states.
The physician testified that during the surgical procedure something did not feel right. The physician called in an ultrasonographer who discovered a fetal heartbeat. The procedure was then stopped.
Orozco experienced a spontaneous rupture of membranes about three weeks later due to a uterine infection caused by the procedure, according to Orozco’s lawyer, Bradley M. Cosgrove, a partner at Clifford Law Offices. The baby boy did not survive.
Cosgrove argued that the physician had negligently diagnosed the pregnancy as a miscarriage because she had measured the umbilical cord and not the fetus during the initial ultrasound.
The jury deliberated for two hours before coming back with its decision. The $5.2 million award is the highest reported in Illinois for a miscarriage case, according to Jury Verdict Reporter, a publication that tracks jury awards
“The jury got it right, and I am so happy this has provided the closure my family needs in order to move forward in life,” said Orozco, who has two other children, in a statement shared by Cosgrove.
“Grace’s ultimate wish is that the doctor would have made a correct diagnosis and that she would have just celebrated her seventh Fourth of July with her son,” Cosgrove said.
The physician and her practice, Adventist Health Partners, were defendants in the case. An attorney representing the physician said, “Adventist Health Partners cannot comment on the verdict at this time because the case is continuing with post-trial proceedings.”
Adventist Health Partners (AHP) is a physician group offering primary and specialty care in Illinois, U.S. It contracts with insurance plans through the Adventist Health Network.
(Photo: Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is seen in a photo from its Facebook page. A doctor with Adventist Health Partners had diagnosed a woman with miscarriage but later discovered a fetal heartbeat during a procedure at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital to remove the unborn child. Photo via AdventHealth Bolingbrook Facebook page.)