Doctor Fails to Recognize Obvious Risks of Twin Pregnancy — Family of Severely Disabled Child Receives $6.3 Million

Mom, a Peterborough resident, was pregnant with twins. At 30 weeks’ gestation, her pregnancy was normal, except for mild hypoglycemia. No obstetrical or physical exam was ordered, nor was there an assessment of the fetal heart tones. Surprisingly, her urine was not tested for glucose or protein, despite the fact that pregnancy-induced hypertension is more likely to develop in twin pregnancies. Since pregnancy-induced hypertension can be managed easily from home through bed rest, Mom would have been examined twice a week and instructed to report her symptoms had she received proper care. This is especially important since women seldom notice signs of pre-eclampsia.

Mom attended at the Peterborough area hospital for her twin delivery and was induced. Electronic foetal monitoring (EFM) was not used during delivery. Twin A was delivered uneventfully. Twin B was in a breach position, where delivery is impossible as the baby’s bottom and legs are positioned to emerge first. As a result, Pipers forceps were used in combination with an episiotomy. After severe blood loss from Mom, Twin B was born blue and limp.

If EFM had been applied, abnormalities in the fetal heart tracing would have been detected and intervention would have been carried out (such as a Caesarean section). This would have prevented the damage from occurring.

The respiratory distress and asphyxia, which caused the baby to be unable to breathe, also caused seizures and hypertonia, or decreased muscle tone that will remain with the baby throughout her lifetime. The baby also suffered severe brain damage at birth resulting in developmental delay.

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