AUGUSTA — A central Maine couple recently won a $500,000 court judgment against MaineGeneral Medical Center and a pathologist in a medical malpractice case involving tissue samples taken from their stillborn baby without their consent.

A jury at the Capital Judicial Center awarded damages to Michael and Katie Smith of China after finding that the hospital and Dr. Carol Saunders were professionally negligent in their actions in early July 2013.

The Smiths sued both the doctor and hospital in 2014.

The fetus was delivered at 18 weeks on July 4, 2013, at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer unit in Waterville.

The Smiths said they authorized only a skin sample from the fetus as well as a sample from the placenta to be taken in their presence – performed at bedside by the obstetrician – for testing.

When the Smiths went to the Veilleux Funeral Home on July 5, 2013, they saw a gaping hole in the fetus’ left side.

The Smiths’ attorney, Thomas Douglas, said the hospital also failed to return all samples taken from the Smith fetus, which Michael Smith had requested several days after they had been taken. The hospital reported discovering more slides with tissue samples from the fetus in May 2015, he said.

Saunders indicated that she took another sample from the fetus because she was concerned that the original sample was not large enough.

Saunders was not a hospital employee but worked at the hospital for Pathology Associates, which contracts with MaineGeneral Medical Center.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: betadams