Prolonged delivery: child with cerebral palsy awarded $70M
AFTER MORE THAN 4 HOURS of second-stage labor followed by prolonged pushing and crowning, the baby was born depressed. Later, the child was found to have cerebral palsy.
PARENTS’ CLAIM The ObGyn was negligent in failing to perform an episiotomy, not attempting vacuum extraction, and not using forceps to assist delivery. Although fetal heart-rate monitoring results deteriorated, the ObGyn did not assess contractions for 30 minutes at one point. Hospital staff members were unable to adequately intubate or ventilate the newborn. The hospital staff disposed of the baby’s cord blood. Records were altered.
The parents’ counsel proposed that the defendants’ insurance company refused all settlement efforts prior to trial because the case venue was known to be conservative regarding jury verdicts.
DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE The hospital and the ObGyn were not negligent; the mother and baby received proper care. Hospital staff acted appropriately.
VERDICT During the trial, the hospital settled for an undisclosed amount. An additional $2 million was offered on behalf of the ObGyn later in the trial, but the parents refused settlement at that time.
A California jury returned a $74.525 million verdict against the ObGyn. The child was awarded $70.725 million for medical expenses, lost earnings, and damages. The parents were awarded $3.8 million for emotional distress.