Family of Brain Damaged Child Recovers $6 Million After a Mistaken Due Date Causes Fetus to Suffocate

The parents of a boy suffering from cerebral palsy, caused by his delayed birth, recovered $6 million in damages. The settlement will provide 24-hour supervised care to the boy for the rest of his life.

Mom’s antenatal course was uneventful. She went to the doctor for her first prenatal visit, and her expected due date was determined. She attended her doctor’s office for another ultrasound several months later. While the doctor re-confirmed her due date, the ultrasound actually showed that she was 2-3 weeks further along than was initially thought. Yet another ultrasound in her third trimester showed the same thing: that Mom was actually 36 weeks’ pregnant instead of the 33-34 weeks that her doctor had recorded.

Because of this, Mom had a non-stress test done when she finally went into labour, several weeks overdue. The non-stress test was not only abnormal as the fetus had a high heart beat, but the staff who performed it did not test Mom long enough to get an accurate reading of the fetal heart rate. Mom was admitted immediately for a post-maturity induction, 19 days overdue. About 3 or 4 hours later, the fetal heart rate started to plummet to alarmingly low rates, a pattern which continued until the baby was delivered.

The doctor happened to call to check on his patient; this is how he found out about the persistent fetal heart decelerations the nurses had been noting. He eventually arrived hours later. Despite fetal heart decelerations to 50 beats per minute, less than half the normal heart beat, Mom still delivered vaginally. While it is clear that forceps were used, the number of attempts and the type is contradicted in several places throughout the totally inadequate medical records. The baby was finally delivered after many hours of distress. There was no pediatrician present until 3 minutes after the delivery, following which the baby was not breathing and was blue from lack of oxygen.

The defendant doctor will pay yearly installments to provide care for the boy, who is dependent on others for all aspects of personal care.

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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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.