Medical Verdicts

Prior tracheotomy delays crash cesarean


Pierce County (Wash) Superior Court

After calling her physician with complaints of decreased fetal movement, a woman at 32 weeks’ gestation presented to the hospital. Fetal heart tracings were nonreassuring and an ultrasound biophysical profile was scored at 0/8. An emergency cesarean was ordered.

The patient, as a child, had had a tracheotomy, but the defendant Ob/Gyn never informed the anesthesiologist of this history. This led to complications in the attempts to intubate the mother, and thus delayed the delivery. The child now suffers cerebral palsy.

  • The case settled for $8 million.
The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn. ( 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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