Our birth injury team achieved a major confidential settlement on behalf of a 3-year-old Central Coast girl who sustained a hypoxic brain injury and cerebral palsy as a result of labor and delivery negligence. Walkup lawyers proved that the mother’s obstetrician recognized that the baby’s head was in a position that made vaginal delivery dangerous. An assistant who was less skilled and unfamiliar with the risks presented by the baby’s position attempted a vacuum-assisted delivery because the baby was demonstrating intermittent episodes of fetal distress. The assistant physician had no experience in delivery via vacuum for fetal distress.
Although the standard of care requires immediate delivery by cesarean section after failed vacuum, the assistant did not proceed to a C-section. The baby’s fetal heart rate crashed, but the hospital nurses did not invoke the “chain of command” to obtain the proper response to the situation. The child was ultimately born severely depressed, with permanent and significant neurological damage.