Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (20)11 November 2012  PDF

Labor & Delivery: Court Relates Infantís Injuries In Part To Nursing Negligence.

  There is nothing in the chart that a nursing assessment was done and documented on admission to the labor and delivery unit as to the fetal presentation.

  That negligent omission was one factor that delayed the cesarean after the membranes ruptured. SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA October 5, 2012

        The infant was born with cerebral palsy caused by hypoxic ischemic brain injury at birth and died at age seventeen months.

                The jury awarded more than two million dollars to the parents from the hospital and the obstetrician. 

                The Superior Court of Pennsylvania upheld the verdict.  The Court ruled that the familyís medical expertís testimony was a valid basis for the jury to impose liability on the hospital for a negligent omission by the labor and delivery nurses.

                According to the familyís expert, there was nothing to be found in the chart as to a nursing assessment of the fetal presentation, which was transverse in this case.

                Had discovery and documentation of the transverse presentation been a part of the admitting nursing assessment, the attending obstetrician and others would have seen the urgency of getting the cesarean done quickly once the membranes spontaneously ruptured, the familyís medical expert went on to say in his testimony.

                The familyís medical expert was also critical of the fact that the attending obstetrician never documented his own determination of the transverse presentation in the chart prior to the cesarean.  Hatwood v. Hosp. of Univ. of Penna., __ A. 3d __, 2012 WL 4748194 (Pa. Super., October 5, 2012).

 © 2013 E. Kenneth Snyder / Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession