Legal: Premature delivery of twins

September 1, 2008

A woman 28 weeks' pregnant with twins has premature delivery.

A New York woman who was 28 weeks' pregnant with twins called her obstetrician's office with a complaint of pain, which she believed was the onset of labor. After the third call she was told to go to the hospital. When she arrived she was found to be fully dilated and subsequently delivered twin boys. One infant had IV hyperalimentation and has spastic paralysis; the other is healthy.

The woman sued the obstetricians and the office nurse and claimed that her complaints had not been appropriately addressed during her phone calls, that the complaints should have been communicated to the physician, and that she should have been hospitalized at the first complaint of labor.

The office nurse said that the complaints were communicated to the physician, but the physician claimed that he did not receive any reports of the patient's complaints and contended that if he had, he would have hospitalized her when informed of her pain. A $2,235,000 settlement was reached. This included $1,235,000 from the obstetrical group and $1 million from the nurse's insurer.