When Mom was admitted to the hospital after an uneventful pregnancy, she was post-term at 41 ½ weeks’ gestation. Due to her age, she had had an amniocentesis test done to check for abnormalities, but the results were normal. The fetal heart rate (FHR) showed a few minor decelerations, but otherwise her labour was normal until she was almost fully dilated. At that point, the decelerations became more frequent and severe. Eventually the FHR dropped to 80 beats per minute (bpm) and remained at a bradycardia of 70 bpm with no variability.
It was not until 15 minutes later that the doctor decided to try a forceps delivery because of the late decelerations. The fetal head was in the occiput-posterior position, where he was facing upwards instead of the desired downwards. He was born with fresh meconium on him, the cord was wrapped around his neck and he was not breathing. There were forceps marks on both his temples.
The asphyxiation gave the baby seizures. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia. He will require assistance with walking, dressing, feeding and most other aspects of daily living for the rest of his life. Had the doctor attempted the forceps delivery without delay when the severe bradycardia first set in, the prolonged asphyxia that caused the injury would have likely been avoided.
Sommers Roth & Elmaleh Professional Corporation has over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and across Canada.
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