Nurses at Fault; Physician Held Harmless
In one of the largest awards ever handed down by a jury in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a young girl who was born with brain damage at Phoenixville Hospital received $32 million toward her future medical care, according to a story in the Delaware County Daily Times, published January 22.
Two nurses who participated in the 2009 delivery were found negligent for failing to alert the attending ob/gyn, Amy Cadieux, "about a drastic change in the baby's heart rate for 13 minutes during labor." Neither the hospital nor a third nurse was found to be negligent, however. Although Dr. Cadieux was named in the initial complaint, the presiding judge dismissed her as a defendant halfway through the trial.
Court documents show that during the mother's labor, the baby's heart rate dropped from about 150 beats/min to 60 beats/min, most likely because "oxygen to the baby's brain had been blocked by a kink in its umbilical cord."
The 2 nurses noticed the drop in heart rate -- an indication that something was wrong -- but didn't alert Dr. Cadieux. When she came into the mother's room, Dr. Cadieux noticed the change and immediately ordered an emergency cesarean section, although the baby wasn't delivered for another 29 minutes.
"I compare it to an airplane going into a nose dive for 13 minutes and no one telling the pilot," the attorney for the family explained in an interview with the Delaware County Daily Times.
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