Settlement for Full-term Stillborn Birth: $1M

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Failure to respond to complaints of decreased fetal movement results in death of full-term infant whose mother was diagnosed with gestational diabetes

The Plaintiff was expecting the birth of her first child in October 2010. Her prenatal course included a diagnosis of gestational diabetes for which medication was prescribed. A mother who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes is at an increased risk of IUFD and therefore any sign of fetal compromise, such as decreased fetal movement, must be immediately evaluated with fetal testing. Failure to detect fetal compromise can result in fetal demise.

In September 2010, plaintiff underwent two non-stress tests both of which were normal. However, because her amniotic fluid index was high, she was scheduled for an induction on 10/13/10.

On 10/12/10, plaintiff telephoned the office of the Defendant, her obstetrician, and reported decreased fetal movement. She was seen by the defendant for approximately ten minutes where he confirmed a fetal heart rate with a Doppler and instructed her to call back if the decreased movement persisted. Otherwise she was to present for her induction the following day. No fetal testing was performed. Plaintiff’s expert opined that the standard of care required the Defendant who was treating a full term diabetic patient complaining of decreased fetal movement to recognize these symptoms as a sign of fetal compromise and to immediately perform a NST and/or BPP to assure fetal wellbeing.

On 10/13/10, plaintiff presented for induction. An ultrasound showed no evidence of a fetal heartbeat, and the mother gave birth to a stillborn infant the following day via cesarean section.

The case went to trial on 5/5/15 and was settled prior to closing arguments for One Million Dollars. The defense presented evidence that the standard of care did not require further testing on 10/12/10 as there was movement and a heart rate in the office. Further, had the mother called the Defendant later in the day on 10/12/10 to report continued decreased fetal movement (as she was instructed), further testing would have been performed at that time.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this stillborn birth lawsuit.

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