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Jarvis v. Anonymous Physician/Hospital

Dr. Fagel achieved a settlement of $1.8 million on behalf of a 6 year old girl who suffered a brain injury (depressed skull fracture with a large epidural hematoma, subgaleal hemorrhage) and subsequent developmental delays. These afflictions require speech and language therapy and were the result of an improperly managed birth.

At 10:00pm, on November 1, 1995 the plaintiff's mother entered the hospital in early labor with contraction and fluid leakage. At 7:40am the next day a nurse noted that the patient was completely dilated and was given instructions to push. However, the doctor claimed that the patient was not completely dilated and still had an anterior rim and went to her office. With no changes noted, the doctor returned at 12:05 pm and made the decision to conduct a C-section surgery. Surgery began at 12:55 and it soon became clear the child's head was wedged in the pelvis and the doctor was unable to remove the baby out of the uterus. An assistant surgeon was told to push the head from below and the child was finally delivered at 1:06pm.

The defendants contended that all care was within standard and that the fracture only occurred as a result of efforts to deliver the baby. However, Dr. Fagel was able to demonstrate that the doctor negligently allowed the patient to push through a prolonged second state. This misstep, according to Dr. Fagel, resulted in the head becoming wedged in the pelvis. Additionally, further efforts to deliver the baby resulted in the depressed skull fracture and hemorrhages. The nursing staff also failed to notify the doctor regarding complete dilation and pushing, causing the doctor to think that the patient had only been completely dilated for 2 hrs when the decision for C-section was made.