Cesarean denied for macrosomic baby
<court>Davis County (Utah) District Court</court>
A woman in her fourth pregnancy presented to a physician. Her first pregnancy, 18 years prior, was notable for 36-hour labor followed by delivery of a 9-lb infant; the next 2 pregnancies resulted in miscarriage.
The doctor deemed the patient a high-risk pregnancy and ordered sonograms every 2 weeks. When sonography in her sixth month indicated a fetal weight over 7 lb, the woman requested a cesarean delivery. A sonogram performed in her ninth month suggested a fetal weight over 10 lb, but the physician doubted the accuracy of these calculations and scheduled an induction to take place in 2 days.
Following a vaginal delivery complicated by shoulder dystocia and aided by episiotomy, the woman gave birth to a 9-lb, 13-oz child. The child suffered from Erb’s palsy, but the condition resolved. The mother, however, sustained a 3rd-degree laceration, postpartum hemorrhaging, and injury to the pelvic joints and vaginal area.
In suing, she claimed the physician did not properly evaluate the child’s birth weight, and was negligent in not granting her request for a cesarean.
- The doctor settled for $27,000 with the mother and $5,000 with the child.
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 (www.verdictslaska.com). While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.