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B.G., a minor v Anonymous Physician/Hospital

Dr. Fagel obtained a settlement of $2,400,000 on behalf of a child who suffers cerebral palsy and developmental delays after experiencing severe hypoxia during the birth process. After having no complication in the pregnancy, the mother arrived at the defendant hospital for delivery and was seen by the on-call obstetrician. Sometime later, the mother was completely dilated and began to push. 30 minutes later, the delivering obstetrician, who had never before seen the patient, arrived and visited the mother. The delivering OB determined that a vacuum delivery was needed, and delivered the fetal head with just one pull. At this point, a severe shoulder dystocia (when the shoulders fail to deliver after the head) was encountered. After multiple maneuvers, the baby was delivered 10 minutes later with critically low vital signs and severe hypoxic brain damage.

The defense contended that the severe shoulder dystocia was not expected or anticipated, and, once it occurred, the obstetrician used all appropriate measures to deliver the baby. Furthermore, the defense stated that all appropriate resuscitative measures were used after delivery. However, Dr. Fagel and his team of attorneys argued that the obstetrician’s and hospital staff’s negligence significantly contributed to the negative outcome. The delivering obstetrician negligently failed to determine the likely large size of the baby prior to the use of the vacuum and therefore never should have proceeded with a vacuum delivery. Furthermore, hospital staff failed to recognize fetal distress and access the chain of command to obtain a Cesarean section. Finally, the nursing staff failed to provide proper resuscitation after the plaintiff was delivered.