$17.4 million prize awarded to woman who fell into coma during pregnancy treatment in San Jacinto – Press Enterprise

Adria Snowbar, who was pictured in the wedding photos, was treated by doctors at Riverside Community Hospital while pregnant and fell into a coma. A jury ordered an obstetrician to pay Snowbar more than $17.4 million on May 19, 2023. (Courtesy of Bruce Fagel)

On Friday, May 19, a Riverside County jury sentenced a San Jacinto woman in a coma after being treated for a high-risk pregnancy at Riverside Community Hospital to more than $17.4 million, her attorney said.

After two days of deliberation, a jury at the Riverside Historical Court found obstetrician Aruna Gupta, an anesthesiologist and a nurse responsible for Adria Snowbar’s condition, according to Snowbar’s and Gupta’s attorneys. said. A jury awarded Snowbar, now 32, $17,458,474 in damages, including $2.2 million for her past suffering and $5.25 million for her future medical expenses. Her attorney, Bruce Feigel, said the rest of the judgment was for non-economic damages.

Fagell said Riverside Community Hospital and the anesthesiologist had previously settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

A hospital spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Feigel said Snowbar was hospitalized on December 4, 2018, with pre-eclampsia, an obstetric condition that puts pregnancy at risk. Fagel said her blood pressure was elevated, so Gupta did not go to her hospital and prescribed medication to lower her blood pressure. Snowbar was discharged from the hospital two days later.

On December 10, Snowbar was readmitted to the hospital after his blood pressure rose. Dr. Gupta, who she was present with, ordered a caesarean section. Fagel said Gupta prescribed a drug that caused low blood pressure during surgery. Snowbar’s heart stopped when the anesthesiologist removed the breathing tube.

The boy was born healthy, but Snowbar suffered a brain injury in the 25 minutes before his heart started beating again, Feigel said.

“Everything was fine until December 4th when my blood pressure spiked,” Feigel said. “The baby should have been born, and if she had given birth at that time, both mother and child would have been fine. That was the focus of the case.”

Feigel said he spoke with jurors after the verdict was announced.

“They focused on the failure to fulfill[December 4],” Feigel said.

The baby was supposed to be delivered on Dec. 4, Fagel said, because the woman’s high blood pressure had been safely lowered that day with a slow dose of medication. When the woman was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 10, she was immediately given the full dose of medicine, which “brought her blood pressure to its lowest point,” he said, leading to a heart attack.

Gupta has been an obstetrician for about 40 years, Feigel said. Under California law, doctors like Gupta are not directly employed by the hospitals where they work, he said.

Feigel said Snowbar is breathing on his own and is being cared for at a facility in San Dimas. Snowbar is married and the boy is now 4 years old.

“What should have been the happiest day of my life came to a very tragic end,” Feigel said.

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