The estate of an AIDS-infected mother who died shortly after childbirth has filed a $15 million medical malpractice suit against the George Washington University Medical Center and three of its physicians.

According to the complaint, which was filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, 35-year-old Mary J. Bedney died last October from massive bleeding less than three hours after she was admitted to the hospital.

Grandison Hill, the lawyer who represents Bedney's mother in the suit, said Bedney delivered the child, her sixth, in the seat of a friend's car. Hill said Bedney and the baby were then rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

The suit claims that the cause of Bedney's death was the physicians' delay in treating Bedney, and Hill said yesterday in an interview that the autopsy showed that Bedney's placenta was still in her uterus when she died. In normal deliveries, a placenta follows soon after the baby is born, and a retained placenta can be associated with internal bleeding.

A hospital spokesman declined to comment about the suit. The three physicians named in the suit, Drs. John H. Grossman, Jocelyn McGinnis and John Gonzales, were unavailable for comment.