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Scott v. Turull, et al.

Dr. Fagel settled a case for $4.5 million on behalf of a child who now suffers cerebral palsy and other forms of brain damage after hospital staff failed to respond to fetal distress and perform a timely delivery. The mother arrived at the hospital at 11 a.m., (although the original medical record claimed that she arrived at 11:25) complaining of severe abdominal pain and dizziness. She was told by hospital staff she would need to wait and was finally seen after approximately 30 minutes. A fetal monitor was attached and, after 10 minutes without finding a tracing, a low heart rate was discovered. The attending OB, who was not in the hospital, was informed of the situation and told the nurses to ask any OB in the hospital to perform a stat c-section. The fetal monitor strip was then removed, but the mother did not arrive in the operating room for over 10 minutes (she later testified that she waited on a gurney in a hallway for a while before finally being moved to the OR). Rapid induction anesthesia was started and the baby was delivered at 12:04 a.m., appearing blue, motionless and with no pulse. A later CT scan showed extensive brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen to the brain. Due to injuries during the birth process, the plaintiff suffers severe cerebral palsy, developmental delays and a seizure disorder and now requires 8 hours a day of LVN care, five days each week.

The defendants claimed that the nurses acted within the standard of care in responding to the mother’s condition and that a c-section was started within 30 minutes of the mother’s arrival to the Labor and Delivery Unit. However, updated medical records showed that the plaintiff’s mother actually arrived in the hospital at 11:00, not 11:25, meaning that the c-section did not take place until close to an hour after her arrival. Based upon this evidence, Dr. Fagel was able to prove that the nurses failed to promptly respond to the mother’s complaints. Furthermore, once the low fetal heart rate was discovered, there was an unnecessary delay in moving the mother into the OR for a c-section delivery. All in all, the hospital staff’s negligent actions caused a delay in the delivery which was the primary cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.