Medical Verdicts

Tocolytics not given for preterm labor


New York County (NY) Supreme Court

Nine hours after presenting to an emergency department with labor contractions, a woman at 30 weeks’ gestation delivered a son. The child was born paralyzed after suffering an intraventricular hemorrhage.

The woman sued, claiming that she should have received tocolytics to prevent preterm birth, as well as corticosteroids to reduce the risk of birth defects.

The defendant claimed the woman had begun leaking amniotic fluid before she arrived at the hospital. Had she been given tocolytics, it was argued, the risk of infection to both mother and child would have risen dramatically.

Further, it was noted that when the incident took place, in 1990, administration of corticosteroids was not yet the standard of care in cases such as this.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.
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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