OB/GYN medical malpractice results in $9.6m verdict against United States

On October 28, 2015, a federal judge issued a ruling in an Ob/Gyn medical malpractice case, requiring the United States pay $9.6m in damages. This case was covered by the Washington Times.

Ob/Gyn medical malpractice standard of care

We have covered the fact that birth injuries are twice as likely to occur in military hospitals run by the federal government. This is a case where the child and mom sued the hospital for failing to timely perform a c-section. The Court found that the standard of care requires that a doctor perform a c-section when there is an “arrest of labor and fetal intolerance to labor.” The court found that the government healthcare providers committed Ob/Gyn medical malpractice when they delayed over an hour to perform a c-section. Once labor has arrested, the Ob/Gyn medical doctor negligently instructed the mother to push for an hour, in the presence of worsening fetal well-being.

Also involved in this case was an issue of fetal monitor tracings. The fetal monitor is attached to the mother during labor and delivery to monitor the health and well being of the baby. It records both the baby’s heart rate and the mothers heart rate, and allows a provider to see when contractions are occurring. The United States tried to argue that the readings on the fetal monitor were not useful or predictive of fetal well-being. The Court rejected this argument.

Instead, the Court found Ob/Gyn medical malpractice in failing to read the fetal monitoring and watch it for signs of fetal distress. An obstetrician is required under the standard of care to recognize the warning signs of a worsening fetal condition and intervene in the face of minimal progress. The United States tried to argue that there was “no standard of care” governing how long an obstetrician should wait before performing a c-section. The Court also rejected this argument.

Damages in an Ob/Gyn medical malpractice case

In this California Ob/Gyn’s medical malpractice case, the Court found significant damages. They found that because of the Government Obstetrician’s negligence, the baby was unable to speak, walk, work, or conduct any activities of daily living. The Court found that the child would need 24-hour care. She cannot eat and must be fed through a gastronomy tube. She cannot swallow and requires frequent suctioning, even at night. The Court found that 24-hour a day care was required by a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). LVN’s are trained in medical decision-making, are supervised, and can be responsive to the child’s medical risk factors. In total, the Court found that the baby would require $8,297,488 in future medical expenses. The Court also found $967,796. Along with non-economic damages, the total amount of damages for the child was $9,602,805. The damages to the mom was $250,000.

This was a Ob/Gyn medical malpractice case against a federally funded health care clinic. If you or your child have been injured at a hospital or clinic that you believe may be a federally funded clinic, you may need legal representation to make sure you comply with all of the laws surrounding your particular circumstances. (See, for example, the specific requirements you need to comply with before you can sue a federally funded clinic.) But there are also FTCA statute of limitations that you might need legal help navigating.

2017-09-05T09:46:38+00:00