Medical Verdicts

Ill-advised genetic counseling: $1M verdict


Defendants' defense The fetal heart rates were what typically occur during the second stage of labor. The hospital’s accepted practices were followed. When the IUPC failed, the nurse measured contractions by hand and analyzed the fetal heartbeat from audible sounds; therefore, it was not necessary to notify the ObGyn. The physician was promptly called when uterine rupture was suspected. Uterine rupture and placental abruption caused the child’s injury. Uterine rupture cannot be predicted or prevented and is a known complication of VBAC.

Verdict After the parents declined an $8 million settlement, the matter was tried to a defense verdict. That decision was overturned on appeal, and, at a second trial, a $130 million New York verdict was returned against the hospital that employed the ObGyn and nurse.

Uterus, small bowel injured during D&C

A 65-year-old woman underwent dilation and curettage (D&C) to screen for uterine cancer performed by an ObGyn and a general surgeon. Her uterus and small intestine were perforated during the procedure, and a second operation was required to repair the damage.

Patient's claim Both physicians were negligent in performing D&C.

Physician's defense The ObGyn denied negligence and countered that the injuries are known complications of the procedure.

Verdict The surgeon settled for a confidential amount before trial. A New Jersey defense verdict was returned for the ObGyn.

These cases were selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska ( The information available to the editors about the cases presented here is sometimes incomplete. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Nevertheless, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation and are meant to illustrate nationwide variation in jury verdicts and awards.

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