Baby Injured during Delivery: $1M Settlement
2016 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Mismanagement of labor and delivery results in severe and permanent neurological damage in newborn
The plaintiff is a now 4 year old boy who suffers from permanent brain damage due to decreased oxygenation during his mother’s labor and delivery.
On 8/15/11, plaintiff’s mother presented to the hospital for induction of labor. She was placed on the external fetal monitor and Pitocin was begun at 8:00 a.m. The Pitocin was steadily increased/ decreased by the nurse until 4:07 p.m. at which point, changes in the fetal monitor pattern were evident. From this point through delivery, there was evidence of minimal variability, prolonged decelerations, late decelerations and no accelerations; all indicative of an infant who may be in distress or not properly oxygenated. Care was transferred to the defendant obstetrician at 5:00 p.m. and he failed to recognize the worrisome changes on the monitor and deliver.
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At 5:32 p.m., the fetal heart rate monitor revealed a second prolonged deceleration, followed by a baseline change, which occurred in a setting of tachysystole. Again emergent cesarean section was required but not done. The baby was finally delivered via cesarean section at 10:56 p.m. for a failure to progress. Initial Apgar scores were 3 and 8. He required tracheal suction for meconium below the cords and bag mask ventilations for with stimulation. At 2 ½ minutes of life, he was breathing on his own, but required blow-by-oxygen for color.
The following morning, the minor plaintiff was noted to be pale and cyanotic. He was transferred to the NICU where head imaging revealed changes consistent with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and he was transferred to a tertiary care hospital. Since his birth, the minor plaintiff has been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia, cerebral palsy, cortical blindness; he is fed through a G-tube and is completely dependent upon his family for all aspects of daily living.
The defendant denies the claim that any evidence of distress is seen on the fetal monitor and that the injury to the brain is so significant it must have occurred prior to the mother arriving to labor and delivery.
There was a partial settlement against the nurse defendant for $3,000,000 mid-way through discovery and resolved completely with the defendant obstetrician for the policy limits of $1,000,000 in the weeks before trial.
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