Not guilty after fetal death

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Counsel: Anne Scrivner Kuban and Jennifer Suttle
Demand: $1.4 million
Asked: $600,000-$900,000
Outcome: Not Guilty

On May 8, 2008, Plaintiff was instructed to present herself to Labor & Delivery for an induction of labor of her full term infant due to a non-reassuring stress test. Plaintiff appeared in Labor & Delivery Triage but signed out against medical advice. Plaintiff returned to the hospital the following day and labor was induced. On May 10th, Plaintiff was transferred from the PSU to Labor & Delivery. On May 11th, there was an episode of bradycardia and both the attending physician and resident were at bedside. The physicians began to consent Plaintiff for a cesarean section. During this time, the fetal heart rate increased but did not return to baseline. Plaintiff took 17 minutes to consent to the cesarean section. Plaintiff was transferred to the operating room and the baby was delivered within 21 minutes. It should be noted that Plaintiff’s BMI was 49.9 so it took 8 minutes from the first incision to reach the uterus. The baby’s Apgars were 0 and 0.

Plaintiff claimed that the defendants failed to recognize a non-reassuring fetal heart rate during labor, failed timely perform a Cesarean section, and improperly decided to perform an “urgent” C-section delivery instead of an emergency C-section, causing the fetus to be stillborn. The defense contended that the delay in performing the cesarean section was due to the patient’s failure to consent to the procedure and that the placental pathology established that the placenta showed signs of calcification which had been ongoing for days if not weeks, and also showed the presence of infection. At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case, a directed verdict was granted in favor of the defendant nurse.