Birth Injury Results in Twin Suffering Cerebral Palsy: $2.8 Million Settlement

2011 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Failure to expedite delivery results in significant brain damage to twin resulting in quadriplegic cerebral palsy

In September 2004, the plaintiff was expecting the birth of twins. On 9/14/04, at approximately 11:11 a.m., she presented to the hospital at 38 weeks gestation in active labor. Initial exam showed that she was 4cm dilated. By 3:24 p.m., a vaginal exam revealed almost full dilatation and at 4:10 p.m., she was instructed to bear down with contractions. A vacuum was applied to Twin A’s head at 4:15 p.m. and 4:20 p.m., and again a third time without any documented time. A high-internal exam was performed and revealed that the babies’ heads were interlocking and obstructing descent. Despite the discovery of interlocking twins, Pitocin augmentation was started at 4:40 p.m. Plaintiffs’ experts were expected to testify that in this clinical setting, the use of Pitocin was completely contraindicated.

Plaintiffs’ experts were prepared to testify that by 4:38 p.m., the fetal heart rate monitor showed a persistent non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern and the high-internal exam revealed an undeliverable, interlocking fetal position demonstrative of fetal compromise; both conditions required an immediate delivery via cesarean section.

The defendants made the decision to proceed with a Cesarean section at 4:40 p.m. but delivery did not occur until 5:34 p.m. Twin A was born with Apgars of 1, 3, and 3. At delivery, he was blue, apneic and limp with no respiratory effort, muscle tone, or reflex irritability. Following delivery, his umbilical cord clamp displaced resulting in an approximate blood loss of 20cc. Cord venous blood gases were resulted as 7.06/ 71.8/ 30/ 19.8 and cord arterial blood gases were resulted as 6.83/ 117/ 11/ BE-17.

During his hospitalization, the minor plaintiff was diagnosed with an umbilical cord bleed, seizures, and hypoxic-ischemic insult or stroke. MRI studies done at different intervals were consistent with acute infarct. He was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, left hemiparesis, oral motor deficits and dysphagia. Today, at age 6 he can walk with braces on his legs but he is unstable and falls frequently requiring the need to wear a helmet. He has difficulty speaking and is in a classroom with special needs children.

The defense was prepared to offer testimony that the fetal heart monitor did not reveal a baby in distress; that the defendants implemented the use of the vacuum appropriately; that the amount of pitocin used was so small that it had no effect on the labor or delivery; and that there were never interlocking heads of the two babies.

Mediation was held in the week prior to trial and the case was resolved for $2,800,000. (Suffolk County Court)

Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this birth injury lawsuit.

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