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Delayed birth, intubation failure: $10m settlement.

TWO DAYS SHY OF HER DUE DATE, a woman went to an Army hospital to report bloody mucus discharge and sporadic contractions. She was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced with the baby at-2 station. Fetal heart-rate monitor results were reassuring. She was discharged home but returned 5 hours later with increased pain and contractions. She was 5 cm dilated, 90% effaced; the baby was at-3 station. When contractions ceased, she was discharged. There had been no cervical change for 6 hours with a negative fern test. Fetal monitoring results were reassuring.

The woman returned 3 hours later with increased pain and contractions. She had a fever and high white blood cell and neutrophil counts. She was 6 cm dilated, 90% effaced, but the baby was still at-3 station. Ampicillin sodium/sulbactam sodium was administered. The ObGyn was called 4 times over the next 2.5 hours, when fetal monitoring results worsened and bradycardia developed. The nurses treated fetal distress by changing the maternal position and performing amnioinfusion. Then the ObGyn came to the bedside and ordered cesarean delivery. The baby was born severely compromised from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and metabolic acidosis. The pediatrician responsible for the baby's resuscitation failed to get a response with bag ventilation after 5 minutes; 2 attempts at intubation failed. When the chief of pediatrics arrived at 15 minutes, the infant was successfully intubated. The baby was transferred to another facility. The child has profound disabilities.

* PARENTS' CLAIM The hospital staff and physician did not deliver the baby in a timely manner when fetal distress was first noted. The pediatrician did not properly resuscitate the newborn.

* DEFENDANTS' DEFENSE Chorioamnionitis and funisitis caused or contributed to the infant's injuries. Proper care was provided.

* VERDICT A $10 million Washington settlement was reached.

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Publication:OBG Management
Date:May 1, 2015
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