$32 million award for catastrophic injuries
<court>Cook County (Ill) Circuit Court</court>
A woman delivered a baby who sustained hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy during delivery. The child, now 7 years old, has cerebral palsy, cortical blindness, seizure disorder, scoliosis, multiple contractures throughout the body, and spasticity. The child is incapable of participating in any activities of daily life.
In suing on behalf of the child, the plaintiff claimed the hospital nursing staff failed to inform the physician of rising maternal blood pressure and uterine hyperstimulation during labor; failed to decrease oxytocin in the presence of that hyperstimulation; and failed to investigate a lack of urine output for 7.5 hours before delivery.
The plaintiff also claimed the physician failed to take action on those developments; failed to recognize nonreassuring fetal heart tones; failed to order a cesarean section because of the distress signs; improperly removed the intrauterine pressure catheter; and improperly ordered a vaginal delivery.
The physician denied being informed of adverse conditions and claimed her decision to proceed with vaginal delivery under the circumstances was appropriate.
- The jury awarded the plaintiff $32.036 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 (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.