$250,000 Settlement for Failure to Perform a Timely C-Section

The plaintiff, a 34-year-old woman, was pregnant with her first child. During the course of her pregnancy, there were no adverse findings at any of the pre-natal office visits. When the plaintiff arrived at the hospital in labor, the status of the fetus as demonstrated by fetal monitoring strips was normal. After approximately five hours, nurses and the defendant obstetrician determined that abnormalities on the fetal monitoring strips — consistent with fetal distress — had become repetitive and non-reassuring. Despite three unsuccessful attempts to quickly deliver the baby with the use of a vacuum extractor, the obstetrician — instead of ordering a caesarian-section — instead prolonged the labor. In addition, she gave the mother medication to strengthen her contractions despite ominous tracings of the fetal heartbeat. The child was born alive but in very critical condition — and died within a day of birth. The defendant claimed that a longstanding placental abnormality caused the death, despite demonstrable signs of acute hypoxic injury. The case settled for $250,000.