Obstetrics Expert Discusses Fatal Amniotic Fluid Embolism


The death of a young woman from an amniotic fluid embolism prompted a medical malpractice trial against her doctor. The case revolved around an abortion procedure the patient had undergone prior to her death, with allegations that it had instigated amniotic fluid entering her bloodstream. Performed at a gestation period of almost nineteen weeks, the abortion had seemingly no complications at the time. After the amniotic fluid proceeded to cause heart and lung collapse, however, an autopsy with microscopic examination revealed that there may have been some retained products in the woman’s uterine wall. With concerns that the previous abortion had compromised the woman’s uterine wall, the case required expertise in abortions and amniotic fluid embolisms.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How often do you perform abortions at nineteen weeks gestation?
  • 2. Can retained products of conception increase the risk of amniotic fluid embolism?

Expert Witness Response E-025183

In my experience, it is very unlikely that retained products of conception would increase the risk of amniotic fluid embolism. I regularly lecture on topic and causation of amniotic fluid embolism, and perform abortions on patients at nineteen weeks gestation frequently.

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