January 30, 2018, PNLR E-Newsletter
Improper response to fetal distress
Suit against the obstetrician and hospital alleged failure to timely deliver a baby and respond properly to signs of fetal distress. The plaintiff claimed that the physician should have come to the hospital sooner and that the hospital’s nurses failed to appreciate the worrisome nature of the fetal monitoring strips. The plaintiff settled with the hospital for $4.5 million and with the doctor for $1 million. Doe v. Roe Hosp.
Doe was admitted to Roe hospital five days past her due date. That afternoon and into the evening, fetal monitoring showed late deceleration, among other things. Attending nurses spoke to Doe’s obstetrician, who came to the hospital early the next morning and delivered Doe’s daughter. At birth, the child was limp and required resuscitation. Her Apgar scores were two at one minute and four at five minutes. Now 3, she has been diagnosed as having suffered a hypoperfusion brain injury resulting in profound neurological impairment.
Doe sued the obstetrician and the hospital, alleging failure to timely deliver the baby and respond properly to signs of fetal distress. The plaintiff asserted that the physician should have come to the hospital by midnight to deliver the baby and that the nurses failed to appreciate the worrisome nature of the fetal monitoring strips.
The obstetrician argued that his actions fell within the standard of care based on the information the nurses provided to him. The hospital maintained that the fetal monitoring strips did not warrant calling the obstetrician any earlier.
The plaintiff mediated a settlement with the obstetrician for his $1 million policy limits. The plaintiff also settled with the hospital at mediation for $4.5 million.
Citation: Doe v. Roe Hosp., Confidential Dkt. No. (Cal. Super. Ct. Los Angeles Cnty. Nov. 14, 2017).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Daniel M. Hodes, Irvine, Calif.; and AAJ members Amorina Lopez and Ramon Lopez, both of Newport Beach, Calif.