In the beginning of 2016, a birth injury case in California resolved a few weeks before trial. The action arose from an obstetrical failure to diagnose intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)—a common prenatal condition. As a result of the obstetrician’s failure to diagnose the condition, the child suffered a hypoxic injury in utero resulting in periventricular leukomalacia and cerebral palsy. The profoundly disabled child will require lifetime care.
The obstetrician, who sees 22-25 patients daily, failed to diagnose IUGR despite several red flags present at 25 weeks gestation, including lack of fetal movement, the mother’s net weight gain of less than one pound, amniotic fluid levels of less than 5% and an abnormal non-stress test, all of which were ignored. Plaintiffs’ experts contended appropriate diagnosis and standard of care treatment would have avoided injury to the baby.
Just days before delivering a three-pound male with cerebral palsy and brain damage, the obstetrician assured the mother she was carrying a healthy, seven-pound baby girl.