Medical Verdicts

Did fetal chorioamnionitis exposure cause brain damage?


Bronx County (NY) Supreme Court

Doctors diagnosed chorioamnionitis in a 15-year-old girl who presented to a hospital in labor and with a fever at approximately 10:45 AM. By 1 PM the patient was 5-cm dilated, but labor failed to progress. At 3:30 PM, doctors decided to deliver the infant via cesarean. However, delivery did not occur until 67 minutes after the order.

The infant was born with Apgar scores of 9 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. Following antibiotic therapy for possible meningitis that may have resulted from exposure to the mother’s infection, all cultures performed on the infant were normal.

The child, who was 15-years-old at the time of the trial, was enrolled in high school but required special education classes. In suing, he claimed that exposure to the mother’s infection at the time of his birth caused his developmental delays. He contended that cesarean delivery should have been performed earlier to minimize exposure.

The physician argued that any developmental delays were minimal and unrelated to the events at birth, evidenced by the fact that the infant had Apgar scores of 9 at both 1 and 5 minutes.

  • The case settled for $1.75 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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