Girl with cerebral palsy recovers over $15.6 million for Obstetrician’s botched forceps and vacuum delivery

After an uneventful pregnancy, Mom, a Coburg, Ontario resident and world-class skating coach, arrived in labour at an Etobicoke area hospital.

Over the next several hours mom experienced strong, abnormally rapid contractions. In breach of protocol, the nurses began giving Mom steadily increasing levels of oxytocin. This resulted in her contractions becoming even more abnormal.

About 11 hours after Mom’s arrival at the hospital, the baby was still too high in her pelvis, and was not descending. It was at this point that the attending physician called for an obstetrical consultation from the obstetrician on-call that night. As is typical in the hospital setting, Mom did not know the obstetrician who was assigned to be on-call that night by the Hospital.

Unbeknownst to Mom, the obstetrician on-call that night had a history of poor clinical judgment causing severe birth injuries.

Upon his arrival, this obstetrician assessed Mom and did a vaginal examination. He then manually rotated the baby’s head inside Mom’s pelvis to try and achieve a more favourable position for the baby to descend. He then left the room without waiting to see if his maneuver had been successful.

The obstetrician returned to the patient about an hour later. He determined that that the baby’s head had returned to its’ original position. Then, without any discussion with mom, the obstetrician tried to deliver the baby by alternating between gripping the baby’s head with forceps and placing a vacuum suction cup on the baby’s head and applying traction. In total, and in breach of the standard, he used the forceps three times and the vacuum five times. At no time did mom consent to this procedure.

When the baby was finally delivered, she required resuscitation and was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Today, the young girl has permanent neurological and physical deficits. She has cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia, developmental delay, a seizure disorder, scoliosis, and visual and hearing impairments. She is fed through a G-tube. She is confined to a wheelchair and needs assistance with every aspect of daily living.

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.