THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT REQUIRE ALL ATTORNEYS TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT AND DISCLAIMER TO THEIR CASE RESULTS.
SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON VARIOUS FACTORS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEREFORE, PAST RESULTS IN CASES ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE ALLEN LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.
Injuries: shoulder dystocia, skull fracture
The plaintiff mother, a pregnant female in her twenties, presented to the hospital with spontaneous rupture of membranes and was admitted to the Labor & Delivery unit. Labor was augmented with Oxytocin, and the mother appeared to be progressing without complication or distress to the fetus. Some time thereafter, the fetal heart rate dropped to the 90's and remained decreased for 5 minutes before returning to baseline. At this point, the defendant obstetrician applied mid forceps in attempts to rotate the baby. Rotation was successful but no descent was noted after three attempts at pulling. The fetal heart tones remained unsteady with notable sustained decreases to the 60's. A vacuum extraction was attempted and was unsuccessful. At this time, the mother was moved to the operating room for emergency cesarean section.
After the mother arrived in the operating room, the decision was made to continue with spontaneous vaginal delivery. The mother continued to push in attempts at delivery for another 90 minutes with inconsistent fetal heart tracings and notable late decelerations in the fetal heart rate. The vacuum suction was again applied, and the baby was delivered with a significant shoulder dystocia.
Upon presentation, the baby was limp, cyanotic and without spontaneous respiratory effort. Edema, bruising and lacerations to the baby's skull and face were documented. Reflexes were poor, and he was intubated and placed on intravenous fluids. A CT of the head revealed a subgaleal hematoma, left parietal skull fracture and a subdural hematoma extending into the tentorium.
Ultimately, the infant child was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy. He will require medical and living assistance for the remainder of his life. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant physician failed to recognize clear signs of fetal distress, failed to appropriately manage the labor and delivery, and failed to emergently deliver the infant child. The case was settled during litigation.