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Medical Verdicts

Brain damage follows induction for wrongly suspected macrosomia

September 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 9

<court>Palm Beach (Fla) County Circuit Court</court>

Suspecting macrosomia severe enough to impede normal vaginal delivery, an obstetrician induced early labor, using forceps to deliver the infant.

At birth, however, the child weighed just 6 lbs and suffered severe brain damage. He spent the following 3 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, and subsequently underwent 14 surgeries to his brain and spine. He requires constant care due to severe physical and neurologic impairment.

The plaintiff claimed the physician was negligent in inducing early labor and used an improper forceps technique known to be associated with a higher risk of brain damage.

The defense maintained the child’s injuries were congenital.

  • A jury awarded the plaintiff $63 million.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn. ( 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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