Prenatal care: court faults clinic's practices for screening patients re current medications.


The patient came to the ob/gyn clinic after a positive home pregnancy test. She was six weeks pregnant. She was started on prenatal vitamins and told to follow up.

In the civil lawsuit which ensued after her baby died shortly after delivery the patient testified she told the physician she was on Prozac, Wellbutrin and Benicar and that the physician told her it was all right to continue with all of her current medications.

Benicar is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist used to control high blood pressure. Contraindications have been published against its use during pregnancy.

The physician testified he told the patient to discontinue the Benicar, but that conversation was not documented in the chart.

The Supreme Court of Alabama threw out a multi-million dollar jury verdict in the patient's favor and ordered the case to be re-tried.

The court agreed with the jury that the clinic's nurses and the physician did not live up to standards of care. They had independent responsibilities to screen the medications the patient was taking and to advise the patient to discontinue anything contraindicated or even ill-advised during pregnancy.


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