$500,000 Settlement for Death of Newborn

In a lawsuit against their obstetrician, a Monmouth County couple received a $500,000 recovery as a result of the death of their newborn daughter. The mother, who was almost full-term, had fallen and was taken to the nearest hospital. Because of risk of injury to the baby, an ultrasound was performed which was reported as negative for injury. However, the mother had requested additional fetal monitoring and was transferred to another hospital where such monitoring could be performed. Her obstetrician had agreed to meet her there, but by the time the mother was connected to monitoring equipment, her doctor had not arrived. The fetal heart pattern was suggestive of worsening fetal distress. After two hours, the patient’s obstetrician still had not arrived and the labor and delivery nurse called another obstetrician when the fetal heart rate dropped precipitously. An emergency c-section was performed and it was discovered that the mother had a placental abruption, cutting off oxygen to the baby. The baby was born severely asphyxiated, with Apgar scores of 0 and 0, and could not be revived. Blume Donnelly partner, Michael Zerres, obtained the settlement on behalf of the family, arguing that the doctor had gone home instead of to the second hospital, in effect, abandoning her patient. The second hospital also contributed to the settlement as it was claimed the labor and delivery nurse should have alerted the in house obstetrician of the questionable fetal heart rate instead of waiting for the defendant obstetrician to arrive.