Failure to timely perform repeat c/section

December 11, 2007

A Minnesota woman was pregnant with her third child in 2003. She had a history of two previous cesarean sections. One week before her scheduled repeat C/S she was admitted to the hospital with painful contractions. The cervix was only 1 cm dilated and it was decided to monitor her for further cervical dilation and perform a repeat C/S if the cervix dilated. She was monitored intermittently by external fetal monitoring while she continued to have contractions. The patient complained of pain at a "101" level despite pain medication and requested a C/S. The fetal heart rate became suspicious and an emergency C/S was performed. The infant was found floating freely in the abdominal cavity due to a ruptured uterus. The infant exhibited hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and suffered brain injury and will require assistance in all activities of daily living.

A Minnesota woman was pregnant with her third child in 2003. She had a history of two previous cesarean sections. One week before her scheduled repeat C/S she was admitted to the hospital with painful contractions. The cervix was only 1 cm dilated and it was decided to monitor her for further cervical dilation and perform a repeat C/S if the cervix dilated. She was monitored intermittently by external fetal monitoring while she continued to have contractions. The patient complained of pain at a "101" level despite pain medication and requested a C/S. The fetal heart rate became suspicious and an emergency C/S was performed. The infant was found floating freely in the abdominal cavity due to a ruptured uterus. The infant exhibited hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and suffered brain injury and will require assistance in all activities of daily living.

In the lawsuit that followed the patient claimed that the C/S should have been performed earlier and that her reports of pain were sufficient to require further investigation.

The physicians claimed that it was proper to wait for cervical dilation before proceeding to C/S. The parties disputed the child's expected life span, but a settlement was reached for $5 million, a portion of which was used to purchase an annuity and another portion was placed in a supplemental needs trust.