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$13 Million Settlement in Pennsylvania Cerebral Palsy Case

Attorneys Daniel S. Weinstock and Carolyn M. Chopko secured a $13 million settlement for a child in Pennsylvania who developed cerebral palsy secondary to a preventable brain injury that occurred during the pushing stages of labor when an obstetrician and his team failed to act upon clear evidence of deterioration demonstrated in the electronic fetal monitor strips.

When labor began, a “Category I” tracing was documented, which indicates fetal well-being and assures that the baby is well-oxygenated and neurologically intact. Pitocin was administered to the mother to stimulate her uterus, which is appropriate as long as the fetal monitor tracings are reassuring and tachysystole (too many contractions over a given period of time) does not occur.

However, as labor progressed, tracings printed at bedside and reviewed by the defendants in real time over several hours showed a gradual progression indicating that the baby was not tolerating labor and was in trouble.

The defendants failed to recognize this deterioration. They continued to administer and increase the Pitocin, contrary to the standard of care and the hospital’s own policies, rather than taking appropriate steps to intervene and expedite delivery via vacuum or forceps-assisted vaginal birth or C-section. At his discovery deposition, the obstetrician who led the care team demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the fundamental underpinnings of electronic fetal monitoring relevant to this case, including that the principal purpose of electronic fetal monitoring during labor is to assess fetal well-being, and to react if you cannot demonstrate that a fetus is doing well.

As a consequence of the delayed delivery, the child suffered birth asphyxia-induced spastic, quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The settlement will provide for his lifelong medical needs and developmental support.