Was lack of cesarean cause of injury?
<court>US District Court, Eastern District of Texas</court>
A 33-year-old woman gave birth via forceps delivery to an infant with cerebral palsy.
In suing, the family claimed an occult prolapse of the umbilical cord during delivery caused hypoxia and the resulting brain damage. They asserted that the infant had umbilical cord depression and oxygen deprivation during delivery, along with 2 decelerations in fetal heart rate, which should have led to an emergency cesarean section. They also noted that the delivery should have occurred sooner than a half hour after the prolapse was noted. They faulted the nurses for failing to communicate important information to the physician. They also claimed the administration of misoprostol and oxytocin hyperstimulated the uterus.
The defense contended a cesarean section was not indicated prior to the prolapse and that ordering one at that point would not have resulted in an earlier delivery.
- The jury returned a defense verdict.
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). The available information about the cases presented here is sometimes incomplete; thus, pertinent details of a given situation may be unavailable. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Nevertheless, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation and are meant to illustrate nationwide variation in jury verdicts and awards.