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Our clients were a physician and his wife from northwestern Pennsylvania. Their full-term, fully developed baby daughter was stillborn during delivery at the local hospital where the husband practiced. Their previous child had been delivered by Cesarean section, and the family had wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery. When a mother attempts to deliver a child vaginally after having previously delivered by Cesarean section, this is known as a V-bac delivery. This type of delivery has the potential for a particular complication known as a uterine rupture. Close monitoring of the fetus' well-being and the mother's uterus is required. The family was aware of the risk involved in V-bac. If there were any delays or complications with the labor, the family asked that a Cesarean section delivery be performed. Despite this request, and worrisome fetal monitoring tracings, the physician delayed in starting the Cesarean delivery. To complicate matters, the hospital did not have an anesthesiologist available and standing by, thus causing an additional delay in delivery of the baby. By the time a Cesarean delivery was performed, the mother had suffered a uterine rupture, killing their otherwise healthy child.
We brought a wrongful death and survival action in Meadville, Crawford County on behalf of the parents. A high six-figure settlement was reached with the insurance company for the physician.