Medical Verdicts

Did failure to diagnose HELLP result in cerebral palsy?


Tompkins County (NY) Supreme Court

A 21-year-old woman presented to a hospital at 26 weeks’ gestation for delivery. One year after birth, the premature infant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In suing, the mother claimed that there was a delay in diagnosing hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (HELLP) syndrome. She argued that had the diagnosis been made earlier, she could have received steroids to prolong the pregnancy.

The defendants contended that the diagnosis was made in a timely manner. In addition, they claimed that even if the diagnosis had been made earlier, the outcome would not have changed, as the fetus was too under developed for steroids to have an effect.

  • The jury returned a verdict for the defense.
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.

Next Article: