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Failure to Treat Fetal Distress (Stillbirth)

Filed under Birth Injury, Misdiagnosis, Stillbirth

The Hewes Case

Our client was pregnant with her daughter and being treated by the defendant doctor. Near the due date, she reported to him and he ordered her to be admitted to the hospital due to labor contractions. Nurses at the defendant hospital began fetal monitoring and noted fetal distress and some decelerations of the heartbeat. For the next eight hours, the heart rate was monitored, showing variability in the heart rate and fetal distress. Regardless, neither the doctor nor the nurses intervened and further back up was not requested.

At the time of delivery, the baby was born severely depressed and suffered from perinatal hypoxia, respiratory and brain damage due to the lack of oxygen while she was in the womb.

The baby was immediately lifeflighted to another hospital where, after several months of treatment, she died as a result of her depressed brain function and the affects of the birth asphyxia.

Suit was filed in Crawford County, Pennsylvania against the defendant doctor for failing to monitor the baby and failing to recognize the signs of fetal distress on the fetal heart monitor. The defendant attempted to argue that the signs of fetal distress were not obvious enough to warrant intervention and that the injuries were due to conditions other than fetal distress.

A substantial settlement was achieved prior to trial.