Legal: Permanent incontinence and CP?

May 1, 2009

After forceps delivery and fourth-degree laceration, patient sues for ineffective repair, suffers from incontinence, and the child has CP.

In 1998, labor was induced in a New York patient, and she was managed by a resident and her attending obstetrician. During labor, she developed a fever and both maternal and fetal heart rates were increased. Suspecting chorioamnionitis, the physicians decided on a forceps delivery.

A fourth-degree laceration occurred during the vaginal delivery and was repaired by the resident. In the ensuing lawsuit, the patient claimed that the repair was not effective and that she suffers permanent residual incontinence as a result. She also sued on behalf of the child, alleging he has cerebral palsy as a result of injury during delivery.

The defense argued that the patient had a good postpartum recovery and the child did not have a brain injury. The child has a tibial torsion and walks with a pigeon-toed gait. The jury verdict awarded $11.9 million to the woman and $7.6 million to the child.