$5.3 million verdict against an obstetrician

November 1, 1991

After a perfectly normal pregnancy a healthy young mother was admitted to the hospital in labor. As per the routine, an electronic fetal monitor was applied in order to track the baby’s heart rate and insure that she was healthy. Several hours into the labor the fetal monitor revealed a sudden change indicating that the baby was in trouble. The placenta had torn away from the lining of the uterus and the baby was being deprived of oxygen. The obstetrician was called, reviewed the fetal monitor tracings, but failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation. When the baby was finally delivered, her Apgar score was zero and she was close to death. Although she was able to be resuscitated, the child was severely brain damaged and developed cerebral palsy. After a lengthy trial the jury awarded $5,300,000 in damages.