Defense Verdict in Suffolk County

August 7, 2012

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, Partner Guy Lawrence obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case tried in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County for one of our client hospitals. Plaintiff alleged that the hospital labor & delivery nurse negligently and carelessly monitored the fetal heart rate during labor, and that the nurse departed from the prevailing standard of care in failing to contact and notify the attending OB/GYN of fetal heart rate decelerations and abnormalities.

The infant was ultimately delivered by cesarean section and the defense contended that the infant’s condition failed to establish birth asphyxia or perinatal hypoxia as alleged by the plaintiff. However, some months later, the infant-plaintiff exhibited global and systemic hypotonia with severe and permanent physical and cognitive deficits and disabilities. The defendant argued that the fetal heart rate was properly monitored and assessed, that the labor & lelivery nurse notified the attending OB/GYN of her progress in an appropriate manner, and that there was no fetal perinatal hypoxia.

The trial lasted four weeks and though there were settlement discussions during jury deliberations, a verdict was returned in which the jury held that the labor and delivery care did not cause nor substantially contribute to the infant plaintiff’s severe developmental and cognitive delays.