Medical Verdicts

Was cesarean indicated for postdates pregnancy?


Baltimore County (Md) Circuit Court—At 42 weeks’ gestation, a gravida presented to the hospital for induction of labor. After the infant was delivered vaginally, he required resuscitation. Due to a prolonged lack of oxygen, the baby suffered brain damage, resulting in motor deficits, severe speech and language delays, and an approximate IQ of 60.

The mother sued, arguing cesarean delivery is the standard of care for a postdates pregnancy and the fetal heart-rate monitor demonstrated late decelerations, which required an immediate cesarean. The obstetrician contended he followed the standard of care and that no circumstances during the patient’s labor and delivery warranted an emergent cesarean section.

The jury awarded the plaintiff $2 million.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.