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Medical Verdicts

Cesarean was delayed for elective procedure

January 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 1
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<court>Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court</court>

On Thanksgiving Day, an Ob/Gyn performed an elective tubal ligation in the only operating room in the hospital’s labor and delivery suite. Prior to the procedure’s start, fetal monitoring on a laboring woman showed minimal variability and variable decelerations. This trend persisted for 2 hours and then worsened. Nurses later discovered a prolapsed umbilical cord.

It took hospital staff 20 minutes to secure an operating room and appropriate surgical staff. The child, born via emergency cesarean, suffered brain damage leading to cerebral palsy, spastic quadriparesis, and an inability to walk or talk.

The defense denied negligence, maintaining the child had a preexisting fetal inflammatory response syndrome.

  • The Ob/Gyn settled for $1.5 million. The jury awarded the plaintiff $12.5 million against the hospital.

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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