Medical Verdicts

Woman wants VBAC, but hypoxia results


Knox County (Tenn) Circuit Court

After a previous cesarean section, a pregnant woman wanted a vaginal delivery and claimed she was told that VBAC was safe.

Arriving at the hospital in labor, she told hospital staff she had experienced uterine rupture at 5:56 am. Her physician was not told of the emergency when he was called at 6:02 am; he arrived at the hospital 23 minutes later. The infant, delivered by cesarean section 19 minutes after the physician’s arrival, had a catastrophic brain injury secondary to hypoxia and requires 24-hour care.

In suing the hospital and her physicians, the woman claimed she was not informed of the risk of uterine rupture. She also argued that a physician should have been at the hospital to perform a cesarean when she arrived, and noted communication delays with her doctor.

The physicians argued that the child’s condition was caused by a sudden acute ischemic event and that an earlier delivery would not have altered the outcome.

  • The hospital settled with the plaintiff for $3.5 million; the jury returned a defense verdict for the physicians.
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.

Next Article: