Legal: Failure to obtain ob backup alleged

May 1, 2008

Failure to obtain ob backup alleged

A Pennsylvania woman was admitted to the hospital in 1999 for delivery. That afternoon, the FHR became bradycardic and when she was found to be fully dilated, she was instructed to push by the nurse midwife. Vaginal delivery occurred about 1 hour later. The infant required resuscitation and had no spontaneous respirations until approximately 50 minutes of life. He suffered seizures after delivery, had hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and died about 2 years later.

The patient alleged negligence by the certified nurse-midwife and hospital in the failure to recognize and respond to the nonreassuring FHR, that the supervising obstetrician should have been called, and the infant delivered by the most expeditious means possible.

The defense claimed there was no negligence, the FHR was not troubling, and an obstetrician was not required. They also claimed it was not possible to tell whether the brain injury occurred just prior to delivery or at some other time. A $2.2 million verdict for the patient was returned.