Was infant death a result of vacuum extractor misuse?
<court>Whatcom County (Wash) Superior Court</court>
A woman at 41 weeks’ gestation presented to her Ob/Gyn for the induction of labor. The doctor used a vacuum extractor to rotate and deliver the infant. During delivery, a tight nuchal cord was noted and cut before the delivery of the infant’s shoulders. The baby died 2 days later of multiorgan system failure.
In suing, the mother contended that the physician was negligent in using a vacuum extractor to deliver an infant from a persistent posterior position. In addition, the mother claimed that her child’s death was due to a subgaleal hemorrhage directly caused by the vacuum extractor.
The physician argued that the infant’s hemorrhage and death were caused by viral sepsis and developing disseminated intravascular coagulation.
- The case settled for $250,000.
The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.