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Medical Verdicts

Did delayed delivery cause twin’s brain damage?

January 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 1

<court>Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court</court>

Noting a decrease in fetal movement, a woman at 35.5 weeks’ gestation with twins called her doctor. The physician ordered her to the hospital, where a fetal heart monitor was attached. The monitor allegedly showed signs of fetal distress.

A cesarean section was performed 6 hours later. One of the twins suffered a hypoxic ischemic brain injury; the other sustained no neurologic damage. The first twin is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, and dystonia.

In suing, the mother claimed that the 6-hour delay in delivery resulted in her son’s brain injury.

The doctor argued that the brain damage occurred prior to the mother’s arrival at the hospital. The doctor also contended that the fetal monitoring did not warrant an earlier delivery.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict. The hospital settled with the plaintiff for a confidential amount.

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.