Last month, Hodgkinson Street Mepham, LLC expertly defended an OB/GYN doctor in a wrongful death case regarding a stillbirth that occurred in 2009, in which the doctor was accused of negligence.
On December 9, 2009, the plaintiff arrived at the hospital in labor and was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. She labored for about 15 hours, without complication, before the fetal heart monitor indicated signs of distress. She was immediately taken for an emergency cesarean section. The baby was born without a heartbeat and was not breathing. Doctors attempted resuscitation but were unable to save the baby.
The plaintiff alleged that her baby had suffered hypoxia, or suffocation in the uterus, and that had a cesarean section been done earlier, her baby would not have died. She also alleged that the doctor violated the duty of informed consent by not informing her of various risks alleged to be associated with continuing the labor. The plaintiff sought $3.5 Million in damages.
During the trial, HSM attorneys, Jeffrey Street and Brad Piscadlo, successfully showed that the labor was normal and that the baby was not in distress until the very end due to the umbilical cord being compressed.
Throughout the two week trial, the defense presented evidence and testimony from expert witnesses, including three obstetricians and a neonatologist. The primary evidence in the case was the fetal heart strip, which provides a continuous record of the fetal heart rate during labor. The fetal heart strip proved that the baby was well oxygenated throughout the labor and that there was no indication for an earlier C-section.
"We knew from the beginning we were right in interpreting the fetal heart strip," said Piscadlo after the trial. “The only challenge was getting the jury to understand the medical information and we did that with the help of medical experts.”
The jury returned a unanimous verdict, in just 43 minutes, finding that the doctor was not negligent and did not violate the duty to provide informed consent.