Doctor Refuses to Properly Monitor Fetal Heart Rate – Causes Catastrophic Disability — Family of Child Settles for Substantial Damages

Mom was being cared for by a group practice that specialized in obstetrics. She was admitted to the Toronto area hospital along with her midwife to deliver. A doctor from the obstetric group asked the nursing staff to monitor the fetal heart rate (FHR).

The fetus began to show signs of distress, with the heart rate varying greatly. However, the doctor misinterpreted the tracings and continued to order that the FHR monitoring only be intermittent, refusing a consultation with an obstetrician. The doctor refused a request by one of the nurses to apply a scalp clip in order to get a more accurate reading of the FHR.

Mom’s labour was allowed to proceed to vaginal delivery when a Cesarean section was badly needed. The baby was not breathing when he was born, and his colour was poor. Since the doctor had not arranged to have an anaesthetist or a pediatrician present, the doctor resuscitated the baby herself, but this was ineffective. When an anaesthetist was finally requested (when the baby was 13 minutes old), he found thick secretions in the baby’s throat that had yet to be removed and were blocking his airway.

The baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and now has cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia. He is totally dependent, cannot walk or speak and will require lifelong care and equipment.

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The above information is not legal advice. Past results of cases and recoveries by our medical malpractice lawyers against hospitals, doctors, midwives, nurses and other healthcare professionals are not necessarily indicative of future results. The amounts recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.