Sommers Schwartz attorneys Richard Groffsky and Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller negotiated a $3.9 million settlement for a child who suffered a severe lack of oxygen and blood to his brain during labor and delivery. The birth injury settlement also includes compensation for the parents.
At approximately 5:00 pm on the day in question, fetal monitoring began to demonstrate heart decelerations, loss of variability, and an abnormal baseline. Pitocin was running to the mother at that time and should have been stopped immediately due to its promotion of contractions and the resulting reduction in oxygenation to the baby.
The lack of blood and oxygen to the baby continued for another five hours until he was delivered at 10:03 pm by another physician who had replaced the defendant doctor. The baby was immediately transferred to the NICU, where he underwent total body cooling to address the acute hypoxic-ischemic injury, but with no effect.
Today, the child suffers from cerebral palsy, neurodevelopmental disorder with developmental delays, epilepsy with generalized seizures, feeding disorder with choking and aspiration, and other issues caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). He
undergoes developmental, physical, speech, feeding, and occupation therapy, and he experiences continuing seizures. The child has decreased cognitive function and is limited in all activities of daily living.
Surprisingly, the defendant physician and her expert did not contest the standard of care or allegations of medical negligence. She did not dispute that Pitocin should have been discontinued at 7:00 pm or that intrauterine resuscitation and earlier delivery or C-section should have been performed by 9:00 pm.
Instead, the defendant claimed she left the hospital sometime shortly after 5:00 pm and that the resident staff and attending physician who delivered the baby in her absence were at fault—none of which was supported by the evidence. Testimony from the nursing and resident staff and the defendant’s own entries in the medical record proved the defendant was in the hospital and managing the patient when the delivery should have taken place.
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