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Medical Negligence

In Infant vs OB/GYN Group (No. Cal. Sup. Ct.) Doris Cheng concluded a medical negligence action on behalf of a 4 year-old child who suffered Erbs Palsy as a result of shoulder dystocia during her birth. The plaintiff’s mother was 37 weeks and 4 days into her pregnancy when she went into labor. At the hospital, the attending obstetrician grossly underestimated the fetal weight, but determined that the fetus was macrosomic. The doctor started the mother on Pitocin to increase contractions and then handed off the medical care to a second member of his group. The second OB/GYN never assessed the fetal weight. As the baby failed to descend during labor, the second OB/GYN did not recognize that the fetus was too large to safely pass through the birth canal. A Cesarean section should have been performed, but the second obstetrician never offered that choice to the parents until the baby’s shoulder became stuck. Multiple maneuvers were performed until the baby was finally delivered vaginally. By then, the baby had suffered severe traction injury and neurological deficit. The OB/GYN group paid $1,975,000 in settlement of the claim.