Settlement In Suit Alleging Negligent Failure To Perform Cesarean Section/Obstetrician Found Liable For Failure To Perform Cesarean Section

houlder Dystocia

It was alleged that as a result of a failure to perform a cesarean section, a child experienced perinatal depression or perinatal asphyxia.

When the child’s mother visited her prenatal care provider on July 1, 1988, it was alleged, she was post-term and should have been referred for immediate fetal assessment testing. The mother went into labor on July 4, 1988. It was alleged that because she was post term she should have been considered a high-risk patient. She entered the hospital at 3:45 a.m. on July 4th. At 11:15 a.m. she was given an intravenous infusion of pitocin, which allegedly resulted in a significant shoulder dystocia problem. This in turn resulted in an infant who was moderately depressed at birth. Plaintiffs contended that the infant suffered from perinatal depression or perinatal asphyxia. Plaintiff alleged that a cesarean section should have been performed at 11:15 a.m. on July 4th.

Defendants contended that a cesarean section was not indicated and a natural birth was appropriate. Defendants claimed that although the fetal monitor strips indicated very short periods of distress, the distress was remedy by giving the mother oxygen and moving her position.

Injury: Within two hours of birth, the child commenced seizure activity. A treating physician reported that the child suffered from static encephalopathy seizures in remission and right spastic hemiparesis and a language developmental delay and hyperactivity. He indicated that the etiology was intraparietal cerebral hypoxia.

The child suffers from right side hemiparesis. Although she can walk, she has a small orthotic device and/or a brace on her right leg to help keep it straight. There was significant evidence that her learning disability had resolved by the time the child was four years old, EEG tests and CT scans showed no evidence of brain damage or seizures, but the child’s parents claimed the child had seizures while sleeping.

A rehabilitation expert testified that the child will need some medical care for the remainder of her life and that she will be limited to part time employment of 25 hours a week.

Defendants contended that the child will improve dramatically and that her right side hemiparesis can be corrected,

Result: $675,000 settlement.

Plaintiff’s Expert Witnesses: Bernard Nathanson, M.D., obstetrician, New York, N.Y.; Michael Morgenstern, vocational rehabilitation expert, Miami, Fla.; H.T. Shulenberger, economist, Miami, Fla.

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Brett Alan Panter and Mitchell J. Panter of Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., Miami, Fla.

Defendants’ Attorney: Daniel Beasley of Fowler, White, Burnett, Hurley, Banick & Strickroot, P.A,, Miami, Fla.

Alabre v. Public Health Trust of Dade County, No. 90-41057 CA 20 (Dade Cty. Cir. Ct. Miami, Fla, March 2, 1993)