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Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy partner Jonathan Mester recently settled a birth injury case in the amount of $3 million. This case involved a mother who was 36 weeks pregnant. On the morning in question, she began having contractions and contacted her physician’s office. Her physician’s office requested that she come in to be seen. A delay occurred in seeing the mother when she arrived at her physician’s office. Once she was seen, it was determined that she had already reached 6 centimeters dilation and she was told to go to the labor and delivery unit at the hospital.
Upon arrival at the hospital, the mother was placed on fetal monitoring in order to monitor the baby’s heart rate. Unfortunately, it was immediately determined that the baby’s heart rate was severely abnormal and the baby needed to be delivered immediately. An emergency cesarean section was subsequently performed. Unfortunately, the baby was born in a severely depressed condition, and had suffered brain damage in the form of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which occurs when there is insufficient blood and oxygen to the baby’s brain.
In addition to the delay in assessing mom upon arrival to her doctor’s office that morning, an argument was also made that there was a failure to diagnose a condition known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). IUGR occurs when babies are found to be extremely small indicating a growth problem in utero. When this occurs, obstetricians must send the patient to be seen by a maternal fetal specialist for more strict observation throughout the pregnancy. IUGR for this baby went undiagnosed, and therefore a maternal fetal specialist was not involved in providing more strict observation for this pregnancy.
Following the initiation of a lawsuit by the family, a confidential settlement was reached in the amount of $3 million. Due to the confidential nature of the settlement, the names of the parties are being withheld.