To Name :
To Email :
From Name :
From Email :
Comments :

Medical Verdicts

Undiagnosed genetic condition associated with infants’ brain damage

September 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 9
This week's quiz:
More »

<court>Milwaukee County (Wis) Circuit Court</court>

Upon presenting to her obstetrician, a gravida expressed concern about intracranial hemorrhage. A number of years earlier, she had given birth to a child with severe intracranial hemorrhaging, and that child had died at the age of 7.

The obstetrician referred the patient to a geneticist, who determined there would be no complications with the current pregnancy. However, an ultrasound at 37 to 38 weeks’ gestation revealed fetal intracranial hemorrhaging. She underwent a cesarean delivery, and the baby was born with severe brain damage.

In suing the obstetrician and geneticist, the woman claimed her infants’ brain hemorrhages stemmed from a rare genetic condition that caused fetal platelet dysfunction. She argued that the condition is avoidable with intravenous treatments during pregnancy—in fact, using this therapy, the woman later delivered a healthy baby.

The obstetrician contended that the mother’s condition was so rare that diagnosis could not have been expected. She also pointed out that she had referred the patient to a geneticist. The geneticist maintained that the cause of the problem was unknown.

  • The case settled at mediation with the geneticist and the Wisconsin Patient’s Compensation Fund for $7 million. The suit against the obstetrician was dropped.

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.

Did you miss this content?
Does episiotomy at vacuum delivery increase maternal morbidity?