Birth Injury Lawsuit: $5.6 Million Settlement
2023 Medical Malpractice Settlement Report
By Robert M. Higgins, attorney for the plaintiffs
Lawsuit claims obstetrician and fetal medicine doctor were negligent in failing to respond to fetal distress
In July 2016 the plaintiff was pregnant with her first child. At 35 weeks of pregnancy the plaintiff had fetal monitoring which was deemed nonreactive so the decision was made to admit her and monitor the baby. It was decided the next day that she would be induced. The induction lasted 2 days and the baby looked well on the monitor.
On the 3rd day of her induction, at approximately 10:00 a.m. the baby’s heart rate started showing decelerations with decreased variability. The defendant obstetrician came to see the plaintiff and felt that the baby was fine and that she needed to get her labor started by increasing the Pitocin.
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By 4:00 p.m. that day the baby again started to have drops in his heart rate and decreasing variability. The defendant obstetrician again came to the room to evaluate the fetal monitor strips. This time she was joined by the defendant maternal fetal medicine doctor. Both defendants noted the significant drops in the baby’s heart rate but felt like he had recovered and felt the labor could continue safely. Approximately an hour later the baby’s heart rate began to drop again and both defendant physicians came to the room. The decision was made that they needed to deliver the baby. Forceps delivery was attempted but was unsuccessful so the plaintiff was brought urgently to the OR for a cesarean section.
The baby was born needing significant resuscitation. An MRI was performed at a few days of life that showed the child had suffered a profound hypoxic ischemic brain injury. The child has significant neurologic injuries today and requires assistance with all essential activities of daily living.
Plaintiff’s counsel consulted with medical experts who were of the opinion that the defendants were negligent in failing to deliver the baby around 4:00 p.m. when the child showed clear evidence of fetal distress. It was also their opinion that the injuries the child suffered occurred most likely in the last hour before delivery.
The defendants were prepared to present expert medical opinions that the defendants complied with the standard of care and that the evidence was clear that the child had suffered his injuries several weeks before mom arrived at the hospital for induction.
The case settled after mediation and immediately prior to trial for $5,600,000.
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