Settlement in Stillborn Malpractice Case: $2M

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Nurse midwives and physicians reach settlement with plaintiff alleging standard of care not followed during labor

A baby girl died on 12/13/13, during a C-section for arrest of descent.

The plaintiff claimed that during labor, there were changes on the fetal heart monitor that warranted intervention, and that these went unaddressed by the nurse midwives and physicians.

Further, after pushing began, there were more delays in performing a cesarean section delivery. After pushing for two hours, with strong contractions every 1 to 3 minutes, there was no descent of the baby. The fetal head was noted to be in the right occipital position (ROP), with better flexion but asynclitic. The plan was to start Pitocin in an attempt to increase contraction strength and allow additional laboring down. Pitocin was started and more anesthesia was administered.

The plaintiff claimed the defendants should have recognized and appreciated that no descent (no change in station) after 1 and ½ to 2 hours of pushing with the fetal head in the ROP and asynclitic, in a primigravida with a known prominent sacrum and “borderline” pelvis, is very concerning for pelvic inadequacy. Under those circumstances, the patient should not be administered Pitocin and allowed to continue to labor, but rather taken to the operating room for a cesarean section.

Instead, pushing was allowed to continue for 30 more minutes before a decision was made to perform a C-section. At the time of C-section, the fetal head was found to be wedged in the pelvis and was difficult to extract.  The fetal brow was noted to be wedged directly behind the pubic symphysis and the maternal sacrum was wedged into the fetal cervical spine keeping the baby’s head in a de-flexed position. Attempts were made to dislodge the head from the wedged position. The baby was only able to be delivered once the baby lost muscle tone.

She was born (6 lbs., 9oz) without spontaneous respiratory effort, no spontaneous movement, and no fetal pulse. Apgars were 0,0,0,0,0. Neonatal resuscitation attempts were made but were unsuccessful and the code was discontinued.

The case was resolved after a c.231, section 60L notice letter was sent to the defendants outlining the deviations from the applicable standard of care resulting in the death of the baby.

The settlement was for $2,000,000.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and William J. Thompson represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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