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C.I., a minor v East Bay OB-GYN Medical Group

Dr. Fagel negotiated a settlement of $5,000,000 on behalf of a child who has cerebral palsy resulting from unnecessary delays in the delivery process. The mother was admitted to the hospital for an elective induction 3 days after her due date had passed. Pitocin was started at 7 a.m., and the obstetrician ruptured the membranes approximately one hour later. The obstetrician then ordered a fetal scalp electrode, an internal pressure catheter and an amnioinfusion. The fetal monitor continued to show a reactive fetus until there was a sudden deceleration at 1:51 p.m. The nurse summoned for help and a perinatologist attempted to deliver the baby while another nurse set up the Operating Room for a C-Section. The obstetrician arrived at 1:59 p.m. and diagnosed a prolapsed umbilical cord. He attempted to deliver the baby vaginally via vacuum on two separate attempts but failed, and then used forceps twice but was once again unable to deliver the baby. He then finally ordered a stat C-section and the baby was delivered at 2:25 p.m. with mild hypoxic brain injuries.

The defendant claimed that the obstetrician’s decision to attempt a vaginal delivery was proper judgment, and that once he determined he could not delivery vaginally he performed a C-section delivery within ten minutes. Consequently, any injury to the plaintiff must have occurred during the nine minutes of bradycardia before the obstetrician arrived. On the other hand, Dr. Fagel showed that the hospital was capable of performing a C-Section delivery within 10 minutes, and that the undue delay of fifteen minutes after the obstetrician’s arrival were a substantial cause of the plaintiff’s oxygen deprivation and subsequent injuries. The OB never should have attempted vaginal delivery because the mother was not yet fully dilated, and he was negligent for not immediately moving the mother to the OR for a stat C-Section once the prolapsed umbilical cord was diagnosed.

To view the Ison family's video testimony, please click here