Jury awards $20M after woman dies following childbirth

MINNEAPOLIS - The survivors of a woman who died of sepsis following childbirth will receive $20 million, perhaps the largest award in Minnesota history, after a jury found a nurse practitioner and her medical group liable. 

Nicole Bermingham was just 30 years old when she passed away in August of 2013 after the birth of her first and only child. A lawsuit filed against nurse practitioner Patricia Eid and her employer, Emergency Care Consultants P.A, accused Eid of misdiagnosing symptoms Bermingham was suffering, an action that led to her death.

Court documents say Bermingham suffered injuries during a difficult 20-hour delivery, and three days later while at home she began experiencing severe pain, chills, fever and nausea. Early the morning of Aug. 24, Edward Bermingham brought his wife to the emergency room at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where she was treated by Patricia Eid. Attorneys for Edward Bermingham say despite tests that revealed elevated white blood cell counts and low platelets, classic signs of sepsis, Eid diagnosed Nicole Bermingham with a urinary tract infection and sent her home with antibiotics and Tylenol. Over the next few hours, her condition worsened until Nicole lost consciousness. 

She was rushed back to Abbott Northwestern and was diagnosed by other doctors with severe sepsis. Despite efforts to save her, Nicole Bermingham died on Aug. 26. 

Sepsis is defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.

A Hennepin County jury heard the case and on Monday awarded Edward Bermingham and Nicole's family $20 million including $14,446,000 for future loss of counsel, guidance, aid, comfort, assistance, companionship and protection; and $4 million for lost future earning capacity. 

The law firm that represented Bermingham’s estate believes the award is the largest in a medical malpractice verdict in state history involving wrongful death.

At this time, Eid's attorneys have not decided if they will file an appeal. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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