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Jury awards $20M to family of woman who died days after giving birth

It's believed to be the largest wrongful-death medical malpractice verdict in Minnesota history.

A jury has awarded the family of a 30-year-old woman who died six days after giving birth to her son more than $20 million. 

The family of Nicole Bermingham, who died just over four years ago, filed a lawsuit in 2016 against Patricia Eid, a nurse practitioner, and Emergency Care Consultants (the company Eid worked for which provides personnel to Twin Cities hospitals).

The lawsuit argued that Eid's negligence caused Bermingham's death, and a Hennepin County jury agreed. 

The jury awarded Bermingham's family $20.6 million on Tuesday, court documents show, with the family's attorney telling the Star Tribune it's the largest wrongful-death medical malpractice verdict in Minnesota history. 

GoMN has reached out to both the Bermingham family's attorney and Emergency Care Consultants for comment. 

An attorney for both Eid and Emergency Care consultants told the Star Tribune they disagree with the jury's findings, but haven't made a decision on whether they'll file an appeal. 

What happened? 

Bermingham gave birth to her son on Aug. 20, 2013, in what is described in the lawsuit as a difficult, nearly 24-hour labor. 

She started feeling nauseated and had a fever, among other symptoms, so she went to the emergency room at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in the early hours of Aug. 24, 2013. (Note: Abbott Northwestern was not sued.)

Bermingham told her symptoms to Eid, who ordered lab work. The lawsuit argued her symptoms and lab tests are classic signs of sepsis, but Eid diagnosed Bermingham with a urinary tract infection and sent her home at 5:45 a.m. 

Later that day, Bermingham's symptoms got worse and she lost consciousness. At 6:30 p.m., she was brought back to the hospital. 

She died on Aug. 26, 2013, of severe sepsis that was undiagnosed and untreated, the lawsuit says. 

The lawsuit argues that if Eid had met the standard of care with Bermingham, the sepsis could have been treated before becoming life-threatening. 

Since Bermingham's death, her family has worked to keep her spirit and memory alive through Quilts Made with Love, which donates quilts for kids to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House and Recover Health.

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