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O. A., a minor v Kaiser

Dr. Fagel obtained a settlement of $2,500,000 on behalf of a child who now suffers from cerebral palsy and developmental delays after the defendant obstetrician negligently used a vacuum, causing acute hypoxic injury. The 40-year-old mother’s delivery progressed as normal until the fetal monitor strip began showing decelerations after an epidural was administered. Almost 5 hours later, and 20 minutes after the mother began to push, the obstetrician voiced some concern about the decelerations, but determined the fetus was in healthy condition. After the patient had been pushing for two hours without success, the defendant obstetrician ordered additional anesthesia through the epidural for a vacuum delivery. Over the next hour, the obstetrician failed to deliver the baby via vacuum extraction and then ordered for a Cesarean section. The baby was delivered 27 minutes later. However, before the first incision had been made, the fetal heart rate had dropped to 40 and one minute after birth the infant had no heart rate, appeared blue and was not breathing. The infant was resuscitated and placed on life support. Eventually, the infant’s condition improved and the infant was released to home care, but now suffers cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, impaired vision and developmental delays. The defendant claimed that standard medical procedure was followed and the fetal monitor did not show significant hypoxia until the C-section had already been called. However, Dr. Fagel proved that the defendant negligently used the vacuum and that an earlier C-section could have prevented acute hypoxia, and the resulting injuries.