On Monday, September 29, two families filed a notice of claim against Harlem Hospital Center in connection with a death after a series of post-pregnancy surgical procedures.
On July 31, Amy Lam, 34, went into labor at home. She appeared to have safely given birth. There was no reason for Gilbert Kwok, 33, to be concerned. The happy couple took photos of the newborn and their other child. Emergency responders put Ms. Lam and the baby in an ambulance and took them away. Her husband was smiling, still sharing the news with family via telephone.
No less than 12 hours later, on August 1, Ms. Lam was pronounced dead. Mr. Kwok was left alone to raise Abel, their three year old, and the premature newborn, Zachary.
No details released by Harlem Hospital Center
Today, the autopsy is still pending. Harlem Hospital Center, operating under the NYC Health & Hospitals umbrella, has yet to publicly divulge any details to the family about what happened, only allowing a spokesperson to assure the media patient safety is a priority and “Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time.” Mr. Kwok and Ms. Lam’s families saw no recourse other than to file a suit claiming medical malpractice against the half-dozen doctors on record for treating Ms. Lam.
Despite little report from the hospital, it is known when Ms. Lam arrived at the labor ward, it was discovered she had not delivered the placenta. The attempt to remove it appears to have failed. The patient went into shock, her blood pressed dropped and her heart rate increased before she began to hemorrhage. The patient’s vital signs worsened and internal bleeding progressed. According to Mr. Kwok, family was never informed of Ms. Lam’s condition even after he was asked to approve “exploratory” procedures.
Between 2006 and 2010, over three dozen pregnancy-related fatalities were the result of hemorrhaging, even though an authority at the Columbia University Medical Center says maternal deaths from hemorrhaging are rare.
Legal recourse for malpractice victims
Trust when we say doctors, hospitals, their attorneys and insurance companies will do what the law allows them to to dodge their accountability in these matters, including withholding information. It is why the families often turn to legal remedies to get answers. It is unfortunate families have to take this course to get the information they are entitled to, but in the medical community, it’s about protecting the medical community’s best interests.
The Sanders Firm is a noted medical malpractice firm with the resources and experience to defend families affected by hospital negligence. We work with medical experts to examine details of pregnancy-related fatalities, determining if care was violated or ignored. If you’re in New York and feel you or someone you know has been victimized by malpractice, please call our offices to arrange a free case evaluation. Call The Sanders Law Firm at 800-FAIR-PLAY. ResourcesNY Times, A Woman Dies After Childbirth, and Her Husband Asks Why http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/29/nyregion/premature-birth-harlem-hospital-center.html