One twin has cerebral palsy; $103 million verdict
AFTER PREMATURE RUPTURE OF MEMBRANES at 25 weeks’ gestation, a woman went to the emergency department (ED) and was later released. Eight days later, she returned to the ED with abdominal pain; a soporific drug was administered. After several hours, it was determined that she was in labor. Twins were delivered vaginally. One child has cerebral palsy and requires assistance in daily activities, although her cognitive function is intact.
PARENTS’ CLAIM The mother should not have been released after premature rupture of her membranes. The nurses and ObGyns failed to timely recognize that the mother was in labor, and failed to prevent premature delivery. Proper recognition of contractions would have allowed for administration of a tocolytic to delay delivery. That drug had been effectively administered during the first two trimesters of the pregnancy. A cesarean delivery should have been performed.
DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE There was no negligence. The hospital argued that fetal heart-rate monitors did not suggest contractions.
VERDICT A $103 million New York verdict was returned against the hospital; a defense verdict was returned for the physicians.