Birth Injury Settlement: $3.8 Million

2012 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Failure to expedite delivery results in significant brain damage in newborn and cerebral palsy

On 12/8/08, at approximately 10:00 am, the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labor with her first child. She was placed on the external fetal monitor and watched over the course of the day by nurses. Testing was performed due to a non-reactive fetal heart rate and the baby scored only a 6 out of 10. Despite these findings the attending obstetrician did not evaluate the plaintiff until 6:20pm. The plan was to continue with labor and the attending again left the hospital.

Starting at approximately 7:30pm the fetal heart rate began to show even more worrisome changes. The FHR became tachycardic with diminished variability and no accelerations. In addition there were several prolonged decelerations to 70 with a slow return to baseline. These were ominous findings, which merited emergent delivery via cesarean section yet the obstetrician failed to come to the hospital and the nurses provided no interventions.

At 11:00pm the plaintiff spiked a fever to 102.7 and the nurse noted the fetal heart rate was 190 with minimal variability. A call was made to the obstetrician who arrived at 11:15pm. Late decelerations had also developed on the monitor and were a clear sign the baby was becoming hypoxic. At 11:26pm, the defendant obstetrician and nurses discussed the need to deliver the baby ASAP; however, inexplicably the minor plaintiff was not delivered via C/S until 1:13am; almost two hours after the need for delivery was finally recognized.

The baby’s newborn course was complicated by hypoglycemia, hypotonia, apnea and desaturations. The pediatrician was notified after delivery of the minor plaintiff’s compromised condition, but he elected to remain home and leave a nurse in charge of the infant. The minor plaintiff continued to exhibit abnormal signs and symptoms; however, the infant was not transferred by the pediatrician to a tertiary care center until 3:34 p.m. the following day after she had begun to seize and required intubation. MRI performed on 12/15/08, revealed findings consistent with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Today the minor plaintiff is 4 years old and suffers from severe and permanent neurological injury including cerebral palsy with microcephaly and cortical blindness.

The defendant nurses acknowledged that the fetal heart monitor exhibited worrisome changes indicative of hypoxia but testified they were not aware of the significance at the time they treated the plaintiff. The labor nurses and obstetrician agreed to settle this claim prior to the completion of discovery for $3,800,000. The claim still exists as to the defendant pediatrician and is scheduled for trial in 2013.

Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this cerebral palsy lawsuit. (Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and Krisia Syska, attorneys - Suffolk County)

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