Birth Injury Lawsuit: $3 Million Settlement

2012 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Doctors at Winchester Hospital fail to recognize distress during labor and delivery resulting in a baby’s brain damage

In 2000 the plaintiff became pregnant with her 3rd child. All prenatal testing showed the child growing well with no problems.

On 8/31/00, the plaintiff arrived at the hospital at 7:00 am. Testing done that morning showed that the baby was healthy. Throughout the day the fetal heart monitoring was reassuring without any problems noted. The baby’s heart rate was consistently in the 120-130 range during this time period. However, at 4:00, the baby’s heart rate dropped and remained low for an extended period of time. The defendant labor nurse never communicated the concerns on the monitor strip to the defendant obstetrician.

At 5:15 pm, the defendant labor nurse noted that the baby’s heart rate dropped again, this time to the 80’s for 60 seconds. The defendant obstetrician came to the room and observed another drop in the baby’s heart to the 80’s. The plaintiff was given oxygen but allowed to continue her labor. The defendant obstetrician then left the labor room for 20 minutes while the plaintiff was on oxygen and the heart rate was low.

Finally, at 6:40 p.m. and after many episodes of decreased fetal heart rate, the minor plaintiff was born. The minor plaintiff required resuscitation at birth and was brought to the Special Care Nursery because of respiratory distress and perinatal depression. At approximately 13 hours of life, the minor plaintiff began having seizure activity.

On 9/3/00, an MRI of the brain showed findings that were consistent with acute hypoxic ischemic injury. As of 14 months of age, she was diagnosed with global developmental delays, significant motor skills issues, seizure disorder. The minor plaintiff is also legally blind.

It was the plaintiff’s position that the baby was showing signs of problems at 4:00 pm which required immediate delivery by cesarean section. It was the opinion of the plaintiffs’ experts that the minor plaintiff’s brain injury occurred in the last hour before birth and the injuries would have been avoided had a cesarean section been performed.

The defendants denied that delivery was required any earlier than it occurred. They were of the opinion that the findings on the monitor strips were a normal part of labor and did not indicate a problem with the baby. The defendants were also prepared to offer expert testimony that the minor plaintiff’s injury occurred prior to labor and delivery.

The case settled for $3,000,000 after mediation.

Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this birth injury lawsuit. (Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and Robert M. Higgins, Middlesex Superior Court)

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