Case #1065: Cesarean Section


On March 19, the Plaintiff contacted her prenatal doctors to advise that she was leaking fluid and/or mucus. She was advised to go to the Hospital, and initially refused. Subsequently, she proceeded to the Defendant hospital for further care and treatment in the labor and delivery area. It is alleged that she arrived at approximately 10:00 p.m. and leakage of amniotic fluid was confirmed. The Defendant physician first saw Plaintiff after she was admitted and was advised of her condition and the fact that she was at the hospital.

At approximately 10:08 p.m., duly authorized agents and/or employees of the Defendant Hospital began a fetal monitoring strip which revealed a lack of beat-to-beat variability, as well as decelerations, including late decelerations which required immediate evaluation and intervention. It is alleged that the nursing staff and/or other duly authorized agents and/or employees of the Defendant Hospital failed to appropriately interpret the fetal monitoring strip which showed the infant, in utero, to be stressed. It is asserted that the Defendant physician, as well as hospital personnel failed to recognize the non-reassuring strip and failed to provide the close monitoring and surveillance necessary to make a proper determination as to the well-being of the Plaintiff’s unborn baby.

It is asserted that these Defendants failed to make an appropriate evaluation and failed to intervene with a judiciously timed cesarean section. Further, these Defendants negligently started the Plaintiff on Pitocin — a drug designed to artificially augment or strengthen contractions to increase stress brought to bear on the unborn baby. Had these Defendants and each of them conformed with the applicable standards of care, the diagnosis of fetal stress would have been made and a cesarean section would have been completed in an appropriate time frame.

Through the course of the night and the early morning hours, the fetal monitoring strip continued to show lack of beat-to-beat variability, decelerations, late decelerations, and other indications of the need for cesarean section. It is alleged that as time passed, the forces brought to bear on the unborn baby through the negligence of these Defendants exhausted the baby’s reserve and ability to persevere. It is alleged that the hospital personnel ignored the ongoing condition of the Plaintiff’s baby as did her attending obstetrician and gynecologist. In fact, none of the nursing staff or the Defendant entered the Plaintiff’s labor and delivery room between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. to examine the Plaintiff, assess the condition of the unborn baby, and/or review the fetal monitoring strip. Essentially, the Plaintiff and her baby were abandoned, while the baby continued to languish in the uterus which had become a patently hostile environment.

Predictably, the fetal monitoring strip deteriorated revealing bradycardia, as well as loss of beat-to-beat variability and late decelerations indicative of a frank emergency. It is asserted that notwithstanding a fetal monitoring strip which reflected frank fetal distress and the emergency need for a cesarean section, the Defendants continued to delay until 5:31 a.m. when a cesarean section was finally performed — too little and too late. It is alleged that as a direct and proximate result of the ongoing negligence of these Defendants, the Plaintiff’s baby died, in utero. When the cesarean section was finally performed, the Defendant physician birthed an Apgar 0 – 0 – 0 child. The baby was dead and unable to be resuscitated because of the length of time the baby was left in utero under these circumstances. Had these Defendants and each of them conformed with the applicable standards of care, fetal distress would have been noted on the fetal monitoring strip as required, and a properly timed cesarean section would have been completed resulting in the birth of a healthy and normal child.

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