The Murtle Case
Harry S. Cohen and Associates represented Mrs. Murdle in a birth injury medical malpractice case. Undergoing induction after 39 weeks of a normal pregnancy, negligence occurred after doctors decided to perform a cesarean section and continued to leave the patient waiting for hours while the unborn infant was showing clear signs of distress. The infant required aggressive resuscitation.
Mrs. Murdle was twenty-six (26) years old and pregnant for the first time. The pregnancy was uneventful until approximately 34 weeks, when an ultrasound showed an abnormal kidney in the fetus. The mother was referred to a University Hospital for treatment, and they discovered that the abnormality was not significant and continued to monitor her pregnancy.
A little after 38 weeks of pregnancy, Mrs. Murdle was brought in for an amniocentesis, which is the test performed to determine whether or not the fluid surrounding the baby shows signs of whether or not the baby is ready to be delivered. The test showed that the baby’s lungs were mature, and delivery could occur. The doctors ordered an induction, but stopped the induction, and the doctor decided to have the mother return in a one week to continue with induction then.
A week later, Mrs. Murdle was readmitted for a repeat induction with cervical ripening and Pitocin augmentation; medical treatment used to try to begin delivery.
The fetal heart rate was being monitored, and labor continued throughout the day. At the end of the day, close to 5:00 p.m. the doctors reviewed the fetal monitor strips which showed that the baby was having a tough time and then the decision was made to perform a cesarean delivery. A conference was held between the doctors, and they decided to perform a cesarean section due to the failure to progress. However, the decision to perform the cesarean section was delayed, for some unknown reason, for over three (3) hours. When the baby was born, he was lifeless, and aggressive resuscitation was required.
Suit was filed against the obstetrician in Ohio County, West Virginia. Prior to trial, this case resulted in a seven-figure settlement for the Plaintiff.