Fetal injury from repeat vaginal delivery
<court>Undisclosed North Carolina venue</court>
A woman who had already delivered a child with shoulder dystocia that resulted in Erb’s palsy was pregnant for a second time and feared it would happen again. The mother expressed her fear to her obstetrician and inquired about a cesarean section. All prenatal assessments for fetal size indicated that the infant was large.
When the mother presented for delivery, a vaginal delivery was attempted. Maneuvers to relieve resulting shoulder dystocia were ineffective. A cesarean incision was then made; cephalic replacement was unsuccessful.
The infant was delivered with a broken neck, broken clavicle, and broken arm. The child also had massive brain damage and cortical blindness as a result of brain hypoxia. The child is quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator and gastrostomy tube.
- The parties settled for $13.5 million after a fourth formal mediation.
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.