September 27, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter
Failure to discontinue labor
Suit against an obstetrician and hospital alleged that failure to discontinue a woman’s active labor and timely deliver her baby via cesarean section caused her to suffer a fourth-degree vaginal tear that developed into a fistula. The jury awarded $11 million. Khankari v. Pombar.
Shweta Khankari, 34, was admitted to Rush University Medical Center to deliver her second child. Khankari, who had a history of cesarean section, was advised to attempt a vaginal delivery by her obstetrician, Xavier Pombar.
After several hours of labor, Khankari had dilated just one centimeter; nevertheless, she continued to push for more than four hours. Pombar later delivered the baby using forceps, and he and his partner diagnosed and treated Khankari for a supposed second-degree vaginal tear in the delivery room.
The next day, contamination in Khankari’s rectum caused the repair to fail. She was then diagnosed as having a fourth-degree tear from her vagina to her rectum. This led to a vaginal fistula, which caused her pain that, among other things, interfered with her ability to work and have sexual relations with her husband. She underwent five repair surgeries over as many years and continues to suffer pain.
Khankari and her husband sued Pombar and the hospital, alleging failure to timely deliver the child via cesarean section and failure to timely diagnose and repair the fourth-degree tear.
The hospital settled before trial for $1 million. The jury awarded $11 million against Pombar, who settled for his $1 million policy limits as the jury was rendering its decision.
Citation: Khankari v. Pombar, No. 12-L-5650 (Ill. Cir. Ct. Coo Cnty. May 24, 2016).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Susan J. Schwartz and David R. Barry Jr., both of Chicago.
Plaintiff experts: Nathan Hirsch, obstetrics, Miami; and Herand Abcarian, colo-rectal surgery, Chicago.
Defense experts: Scott MacGregor, obstetrics, Chicago; and Michael Moen, urinary incontinence, Park Ridge, Ill.