On November 12, 2009, a 31 year old woman, 38 weeks pregnant, was rushed to the emergency room at Highland Park Hospital with abdominal pain and her child was delivered unharmed, but a volume of blood in the abdomen that attending doctors Jeffrey Lerch, M.D. and Erica Smith, M.D., attributed to a placental abruption was observed. In fact, it was later learned the blood was from a very rare condition, a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm.
The patient bled to death before the correct diagnosis was made. She left a husband and one other young child. Northshore University Healthsystem paid five million dollars in a settlement agreed to by Nicholas J. Motherway.