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Medical Verdicts


Was infant death a result of vacuum extractor misuse?

April 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 4

<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.

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