Case #1107: Brain Injury

Verdict/Settlement

$6,950,000

Summary

On November 21st, at approximately 7:45 p.m., the Plaintiff presented to the Defendant Hospital at 37-3/7 weeks gestation for induction of labor. Upon admission, she was 2 cm dilated, 90% effaced and at minus 2 station. She was given Cervidil and Pitocin to begin induction and augment labor. On November 23rd, the Plaintiff was fully dilated and began pushing.

During that period of time, the fetal heart rate was monitored externally. The Plaintiffs alleged that Pitocin was continued despite the fact that the Plaintiff’s previous pattern of contractions showed a hyperstimulated uterus and despite the fact that the Defendants ceased monitoring contractions after the IUPC was removed. Additionally, the external fetal monitoring revealed an elevated fetal heart rate in the 170 to 180 bpm range. The Plaintiffs alleged that, nevertheless, the Defendants negligently failed to stop or reduce the Pitocin, failed to place an internal scalp electrode to directly monitor the fetus, failed to replace the IUPC and failed to promptly deliver the baby.

At approximately 3:46 a.m. (ten minutes before birth), the fetal heart tracing for the fetus ends. During that ten minute timeframe, a sonogram was performed which, according to the Defendants, demonstrated fetal bradycardia, and prompted an emergency vacuum extraction. The baby was delivered at 3:56 a.m. with Apgars of 1, 3 and 5. She was floppy at birth, did not cry, and was intubated and transferred to the NICU. Importantly, her umbilical cord gas reported a venous pH of 6.637, indicative of profound metabolic acidosis.

The Plaintiffs alleged that as the result of the negligence of the Defendants, the infant Plaintiff suffered with ongoing hypoxia and anoxia, which resulted in massive and irreversible brain injury. An EEG on November 28th, confirmed the presence of encephalopathy due to perinatal asphyxia. On December 1st, a brain MRI confirmed massive brain injury. She will be unable to participate in activities as a normal toddler, adolescent, young adult, or adult. She will be unable to care for herself and will require specialized care and treatment as well as attendant care on an ongoing 24-hour/7-day-a-week basis for her entire lifespan.

The Defendants denied all allegations of negligence, causation and harm, contending that there was a sudden placental abruption ten minutes before birth which caused severe perinatal asphyxia.