|Gorovitz & Borten, P.C.
Attorneys at Law
550 Cochituate Road, Suite 25
Tel: (781) 890-9095
|Fetal Distress - Stillbirth
On March 23, 2001, the 15-year-old plaintiff was 41.5 weeks into
gestation when she presented to the hospital for labor and delivery.
She was cared for by a family practice physician, an attending
family practice physician and two labor room nurses. The defendant
family practice physician had concluded that the day-of-admission
non-stress test was reactive; the baby's heart rate was normal; the
baby was not showing any signs of distress; the baby was tolerating
being in utero; and the baby had good fetal movement and fetal
However, at the time of admission on March 23, the plaintiff was
clearly a high-risk patient in that she was just 15 years old and
experiencing her first pregnancy; she was post-date of the due
date; and she was anticipating delivering a large baby within an
anticipated fetal weight of 8 pounds, 12 ounces. The high-risk
obstetrical condition made the induction of labor in the plaintiff
high-risk as well, and required that the attending physician be
present in the hospital to properly manage the plaintiff's care, labor
Ninety minutes after placement of the Cervidil, a defendant nurse
testified that the plaintiff had developed uterine hyperstimulation,
with a non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern. The nurse reported
as to the presence of late decelerations with long-term heart rate
variability being just minimum to average. The Cervidil was then
At 8:40 p.m., the defendant nurse noticed fetal heart rate
decelerations together with late decelerations and a decline in the
fetal heart rate into the 80s, then into the 60s. There was no
documentation in the medical record regarding the changes in the
baby's condition, nor was there any nursing intervention or
notification to the family practice physician.
At approximately 10:10 p.m., the defendant nurse discontinued
electronic fetal monitoring, although the baby was presenting with
non-reassuring fetal heart tracings and the onset of fetal distress.
The defendant nurse notified the defendant family practice
physician of the baby's condition; however the physician did not
order that the fetal monitor be turned on, nor did she order any
further intervention. Instead, the defendant physician ordered
Stadol for pain relief.
The nurse did not ask that the physician come to the hospital to
personally assess the plaintiff, nor did the physician deem it
necessary to come to the hospital and assess the plaintiff. Further,
the nurse did not perform a vaginal exam either before
discontinuing the monitoring and having the patient get out of bed
or after the patient returned.
At 12:30 a.m., the defendant family practice physician examined the
plaintiff for the first time since her admission. The physician put the
attending pediatrician on telephone notice requesting that he be
available at delivery due to "the presence of meconium and
decelerations." Despite her concerns about the condition of the
baby, the defendant family practice physician did not place an
internal fetal monitoring electrode to assess the baby's condition,
and took no further action or intervention. The baby developed
bradycardia, followed by prolonged bradycardia, ending with a
spontaneous vaginal delivery at 3:36 a.m.
At delivery, the baby presented with a nuchal cord wrapped around
his neck and the presence of thick meconium. The baby's color was
blue-ish purple, there were no spontaneous cries or breaths, and
there was no fetal tone or fetal heart rate. Cardiac massage was
administered for seven minutes, bag and mask respirations for one
The plaintiff's obstetrical and nursing experts were prepared to
testify as to the multiple deviations from the accepted standard of
care of the family practice physician, the attending family practice
physician and the nurses who provided care during the labor. They
were also prepared to testify as to the causal relationship of the
injuries suffered by the baby and his ultimate outcome.
The case settled at mediation for $350,000.
If you, your child or a member of your family have been injured as a
result of a failure to receive proper obstetrical care, deficient medical
treatment or failure to be properly treated, please let Dr. Borten and
our Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at Gorovitz & Borten
evaluate your case.
For a free confidential consultation and receive a response within 24
hours (when possible), please contact us by phone, fax or e-mail
with your question or concern.
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