$5.5 million Failure to Perform Timely Cesarean Section | Los Angeles County

Dr. Fagel achieved a settlement of $5,500,000 on the behalf of a child who now suffers cerebral palsy and severe developmental delays after hospital staff negligently delayed in performing a Cesarean section for two hours. The mother had a history of Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension prior to her arrival at the defendant hospital for labor and delivery. The fetal monitor initially showed a non-reassuring pattern, so the obstetrician was called at 9:15 a.m., He ordered a C-section, but the fetal monitor showed an improved pattern after the mother was given oxygen, IV fluids and was placed in a new position. At 9:35 a.m., another patient arrived with a footling breech and was moved to the operating room ahead of the plaintiff’s mother at 10 a.m. After the defendant obstetrician left to perform surgery on the new patient, the fetal monitor strip on the plaintiff’s mother began to dramatically deteriorate and a crash C-section was called. However, the only other operating room crew in the hospital was involved in a scheduled surgery and the OB decided to perform surgery on the breech patient first. The surgery crew and anesthesiologist eventually finished the scheduled surgery at 10:30 a.m., but the mother was not brought to the operating room for 35 minutes because the room was not prepared. Surgery began at 11:10 a.m. and a placental abruption was diagnosed. The baby was then delivered at 11:15 a.m. with severe hypoxic brain injuries.

The defense contended that the hospital only had two surgery crews available at the time and could not have anticipated the need for two simultaneous emergency C-sections, which had never happened before. The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s injuries occurred before the mother entered the hospital, as evidenced by the initial non-reassuring fetal tracing and unhealthy red blood cells found in the placenta after delivery. Nevertheless, Dr. Fagel displayed that the hospital was negligent for failing to provide staff and facilities for an emergency C-section within 30 minutes of the order. The cause of the plaintiff’s injuries was the placental abruption, so an earlier delivery clearly would have improved the outcome. As such, the two-hour delay was well below the standard of care and was a significant contributor to the plaintiff’s brain injuries.