Failure to promptly deliver large infant
A Washington woman was admitted to the hospital in labor in 2013. Her labor was complicated by very slow progress, fever, and several fetal heart rate abnormalities. Twenty-six hours later, she delivered by emergency cesarean an infant that weighed almost 11 lb. He was resuscitated and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit with an arterial cord pH of 7.01 and a base excess of -14.4. He started to have seizures 9 days after birth. Placental pathology revealed infection of the placenta with Group B streptococcus. Magnetic resonance imaging showed brain damage and the infant was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
The woman sued those involved with the delivery and claimed they were negligent in failing to recognize that the fetus was excessively large and failed to deliver more quickly.
THE VERDICT: The parties reached a $5.5 million settlement.
Infection following accidental needle stick
A Kansas woman underwent a forceps-assisted delivery, during which a third-degree laceration was noted and repaired. The woman complained of severe pain and the obstetrician performed a revision of the repair, after which the patient had immediate relief and was discharged.
During the revision operation the obstetrician accidentally stuck himself with a clean needle. He replaced the needle and changed his glove. Following the needle stick the physician’s thumb became red and swollen and he started antibiotics, but did not feel the need to inform the patient of the infection. Two days later the patient reported to her own doctor’s office with fever, pain, and foul order from the surgery site. She was diagnosed with pelvic incisional cellulitus and taken to the operating room for exploration and debridement. She was subsequently transferred to another hospital for episiotomy wound and abscess debridement. She then developed septic shock and necrotizing fasciitis and was placed on a ventilator. She eventually recovered but underwent 13 operations.
The woman sued the physician alleging that he should have informed her of the infection in his hand after the needle stick.
The obstetrician denied that he had any duty to inform her, and had not caused her infection complications.
THE VERDICT: A defense verdict was returned.