Goodell DeVries Obtains Defense Verdict for Obstetrician

By: GDLD | 5.31.24 | Case Results

Robinson-James-BLOG-HEADSHOTTom Monahan 2020On May 24, 2024, Goodell DeVries partners James Robinson and Thomas Monahan obtained a victory on behalf of an obstetrician following a five-day jury trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

This medical malpractice case involved the management of labor and delivery for a pregnant patient who experienced a precipitous delivery after presenting to the hospital 8 cm dilated. At the time of the patient’s presentation, the defendant obstetrician was in another delivery. The defendant obstetrician alerted the hospital staff that he was unavailable and they quickly identified a fourth-year resident physician and, later, an attending physician to manage the patient’s labor and delivery. After being instructed to push, the patient experienced a loss of maternal effort while the baby’s head was crowning, prompting the resident physician to apply a vacuum to assist in the delivery. The vacuum effectuated delivery of the baby’s head, but then providers identified a shoulder dystocia. Providers attempted to alleviate the shoulder dystocia but were not successful.  After completing his earlier delivery, the defendant obstetrician immediately went to the patient’s delivery room, alleviated the shoulder dystocia, and delivered the baby. The baby was transferred to the NICU but passed away at 45 minutes of life. 

During the trial, the plaintiffs were critical of the defendant obstetrician’s alleged failure to manage the patient’s labor and delivery, arguing that the defendant obstetrician should have left his earlier delivery or ensured that the patient’s labor and delivery was managed by an attending physician, rather than a resident physician. 

In the defense case, the defendant obstetrician and the defendant’s experts testified concerning coverage on labor and delivery units when a physician is unavailable and how it was reasonable and appropriate for the defendant obstetrician to remain with his earlier patient and rely on the hospital’s staff to arrange coverage for the patient. The defendant obstetrician and the defendant’s experts also testified regarding the unpredictably of the patient’s delivery complications, specifically the shoulder dystocia. 

After two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant obstetrician.