Medical Verdicts

Was lack of cesarean cause of brain damage?


Passaic County (NJ) Superior Court

A 17-year-old girl went to the hospital to give birth. For several hours a fetal heart monitor showed decelerations, which later dropped sharply. The obstetrician and nurse-midwife failed to initiate a cesarean section, leading to fetal oxygen deprivation during delivery and brain damage. The child will never be able to walk, talk, or live on his own.

During the defense the obstetrician claimed she was not informed of the difficulties during labor, but the nurse-midwife contended that she had alerted the obstetrician to the need for a cesarean section.

  • The obstetrician settled for $1 million.
  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $9.6 million, appointing 80% fault to the obstetrician and 20% fault to the nurse-midwife.
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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