Improper Vacuum Extraction and Negligent Forceps Application Leaves Baby a Lifelong Dependent — Family Settles for Over $4 Million

An expectant Mom was the victim of multiple layers of negligent care after incorrect medication was administered, vacuum and forceps were used negligently and her fetus was incorrectly monitored.

Mom entered the hospital at term with ruptured membranes and clear fluid. The fetal head was high and unengaged, so the obstetrician ordered Oxytocin to speed up labour. Despite this, the fetal head had still failed to descend and the baby was in an occiput-posterior position, (facing upwards instead of the preferred way of downwards). Without an order from a doctor and contrary to hospital protocol, the nurses gradually increased the dosage of Oxytocin.

The doctor decided to begin a vacuum extraction, despite the high fetal head and clear signs of cephalopelvic disproportion, most notably the prolonged failure of the labour to progress. After 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts in 15 minutes, the doctor could not rotate the baby to the occiput-anterior position. He could only move the baby to a transverse lie, a sideways position with its spine facing the cervix, making delivery impossible. However, instead of proceeding directly to a Caesarean section (C-section), the doctor tried a mid-forceps delivery without being prepared to proceed immediately to C-section in the event the forceps failed. After attempts to rotate the head failed, he tried to move the fetal head out of the pelvis, which also failed. The trial of forceps went on for ten minutes before the doctor ordered an emergency C-section, which did not begin for 20 minutes. The nurses stopped assessing the fetus more than 20 minutes before it was born.

The baby was born severely depressed and sustained brain injury secondary to perinatal asphyxia. She suffers from cerebral palsy and spastic quadraparesis and is totally dependent in all areas of self-care.

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