Claim of failure to timely perform C/S at 23 weeks’ gestation

January 9, 2008

In 2001, an Illinois woman was at 23 weeks’ gestation when she came to the hospital with ruptured membranes and bleeding. A placental abruption was suspected and an ultrasound confirmed that the fetus was alive. A cesarean section was preformed about 2 hours after her arrival, but the infant was stillborn.

In 2001, an Illinois woman was at 23 weeks’ gestation when she came to the hospital with ruptured membranes and bleeding. A placental abruption was suspected and an ultrasound confirmed that the fetus was alive. A cesarean section was preformed about 2 hours after her arrival, but the infant was stillborn.

The physician, nurse, and hospital were sued and the patient claimed that delivery should have been performed within 30 minutes of the order for a C/S.

The defense asserted that the patient was timely admitted, evaluated, and prepared for surgery and the C/S was timely performed. They also argued that the early gestational age made the fetus borderline pre-viable with a less than 10% chance of survival. The hospital had entered into a confidential high/low agreement with the plaintiff prior to the verdict, and a defense verdict was returned.

—Department Editor Dawn Collins, JDMs. Collins is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, CA.
She welcomes feedback on this column via email to DawnCF@aol.com.