Medical Verdicts

Did uterine hyperstimulation result in infant’s brain damage?


Undisclosed County (Calif) Court

A woman at 42 weeks’ gestation presented to her Ob/Gyn for induction of labor. The physician artificially ruptured her membranes at 7:40 a.m. and returned at noon to examine her. He then left the patient in the care of hospital nursing staff. At some point in the day, a nurse administered oxytocin to induce labor. Upon delivery at 10 p.m., the nurse-midwife, but not the physician, was present. The baby was limp, blue, and not breathing. Another physician entered the delivery room and revived the baby. However, the infant now suffers from brain injury, neuromotor deficits, and pituitary stalk interruption syndrome.

In suing, the woman claimed that the administration of oxytocin led to uterine hyperstimulation and fetal distress. The woman also alleged that the nursing staff, nurse-midwife, and her Ob/Gyn did not respond in a timely fashion, despite signs of fetal distress earlier in the day.

The hospital staff claimed that the care provided to the patient was proper and that oxytocin administration did not cause uterine hyperstimulation. The medical staff alleged that the infant’s condition was congenital.

  • After mediation, the case settled for $2.5 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.

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