Legal: No antepartum testing in first pregnancy results in CP

January 1, 2009

Woman who had child with brain damage and CP never had studies and testing done.

A Virginia woman, who delivered a child in 1997 with brain damage and later cerebral palsy, considered having another child in 2000. In discussing the risks of another pregnancy with a physician, she revealed she had lupus, migraine headaches, and supraventricular tachycardia that was treated with beta-blockers. She was told the risk of a brain hemorrhage like the one that caused her first child's damage could be reduced by regular monitoring for fetal growth, tracking of fetal movements, and FHR testing. When asked about the results from those tests in her first pregnancy, she informed them she had no such studies done. She said her physicians involved with the first delivery told her the child's problems were due to a placental abruption.

Once she learned this type of testing was standard of care for women with her medical conditions, she discovered further that a specialist had been consulted during her first pregnancy who did recommend testing, but these suggestions were not discussed with her nor were the tests performed.

The woman sued those involved with the first delivery and claimed that IUGR had occurred due to her lupus and the beta-blocker she took and that additional fetal monitoring was required when this was recognized. The child was born about a month early due to fetal distress and at age 9 had an IQ of 48 and functioned at the level of a child less than 3-years-old. A $28 million award was granted.