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Doctors are human, and while most patients in Rhode Island expect that their physicians — regardless of the procedure being formed — will meet the accepted standard of care, they also expect that, if a mistake occurs, appropriate action will be taken to correct it. Unfortunately, a doctor in another state is facing criminal charges. The charges came after prosecutors said that doctor error led to a woman’s death.

The incident reportedly happened in 2016. Reports indicate that the doctor performed an abortion on a woman that turned deadly. Officials say that the woman was 25 weeks pregnant at the time, and state law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks unless the woman’s life is in danger. During the procedure, the doctor allegedly ripped the woman’s cervix, pierced her uterine wall and severed her uterine aorta. While he reportedly performed another procedure meant to repair some of the damage, the bleeding did not stop.

Reports claim that, instead of requesting an ambulance to transport her to the hospital, he sent her home with her sister so that he could see other patients. The woman became unconscious in her sister’s car and passed away at a hospital. Prosecutors say that the case goes beyond civil malpractice and warrants criminal charges, claiming that the doctor’s actions stemmed from carelessness and greed by a person “who operated far outside the medical norm.” Representatives for the doctor claim that he was unaware of the extent of the woman’s injuries and argued that she failed to inform him about a medical condition that could make her bleed profusely.

Unfortunately, a family is now struggling to come to terms with the unexpected, likely preventable death of their loved one. While prosecutors pursue criminal charges, the woman’s surviving family members have the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Many people in Rhode Island who suffer as a result of doctor error are unsure how to respond; however, there are experienced professionals who can guide them through the process.