Rupture of Mother’s Uterus Results in Significant Cognitive Impairments of the Baby and a $7.5 Million Settlement

A young couple was having a baby at a local area hospital.  When labor did not proceed normally, the obstetrician decided to administer oxytocin to help produce sufficient labor to deliver the baby vaginally.  Plaintiff’s investigation showed that once the oxytocin was started, the nurses kept increasing the levels because they did not believe that the contractions were sufficient.  This process continued over hours, despite warning signs on the fetal monitor strips that the oxytocin was having more of an impact than the healthcare professionals believed according to the plaintiff’s investigation.  Finally, the health professionals recognized that the fetal monitor strips showed that the baby was in distress and the surgeon was called.  Unfortunately, the mother’s uterus ruptured in the meantime, resulting in an all-out emergency.

By the time the baby was delivered, she had been without oxygen for a significant period of time.  Even after resuscitation efforts were made for ten minutes, the baby’s APGAR score, a routine evaluation performed on newborns that ranges from 0 to 10, was less than 5.  Plaintiff’s investigation also showed that the blood test performed on the cord blood showed that at birth the baby’s pH, which is normally above 7.25, was well below 7.0.  This was due to the baby having an extended period of time without oxygen.  Despite treatment, the baby suffered significant developmental abnormalities including an inability to walk, talk, or feed herself.  She was incontinent of bladder and bowel, and required regular breathing treatments.

Plaintiff negotiated the matter and eventually settled the case at pretrial.