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Jury awards $15 million to man whose wife died giving birth to her child

Updated: December 24, 2013 6:11AM

The husband of a west suburban high school English teacher who died giving birth to her child in 2008 was awarded $15.55 million Friday in a wrongful death lawsuit against two Chicago area doctors and hospitals.

A Cook County jury deliberated for less than six hours before reaching the verdict in a Daley Center courtroom, according to the Clifford Law Offices, whose lawyers represented Carlos Lopez in his wife’s case.

Karen Lopez, 33, of Westchester, died in Feb. 2008 during a cesarean section delivery at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn from excessive bleeding after doctors failed to diagnose and treat her for a high-risk complication called placenta accreta, according to lawyers.

The verdict was reached against Dr. Mahmoud A. Ismail, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Mukundini Mehta, an obstetrician-gynecologist at MacNeal Hospital.

Mehta both provided prenatal care for Karen Lopez, and also performed the C-section. Ismail interpreted an ultrasound two months before her death at the University of Chicago, the suit said.

The suit claims Ismail should have diagnosed her condition and that Mehta failed to suspect the condition before performing surgery.

Karen Lopez was a tenured teacher at Morton East High School in Cicero at the time of her death.

The baby was delivered safely. Karen Lopez also left behind a son who was two at the time of her death.

“We have great sympathy for this family, but we respectfully disagree with the jury’s decision and are reviewing our options,” University of Chicago Medical Center spokeswoman Lorna Wong said in a statement.


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