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$10,215,715 Million Projected Total Recovery in Birth Injury Case

Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $5.0 million settlement on behalf of a six year old girl with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. A portion of the settlement is being used to purchase an annuity which make the projected total value of the settlement $10,215,715.

The child’s mother presented to Mountainside Hospital on August 26, 2013 at 9:30 am under the care of the Defendant obstetrician for an induction of labor.  Although the fetal heart rate tracings and contractions were originally reassuring, Mr. Zaslow and his experts maintained that by 3 p.m. the uterine contractions were occurring every 1-2 minutes.  Uterine contractions occurring at a rate greater than 5 in a 10 minute segment is known as uterine hyperstimulation or tachysystole, which should be avoided or treated as it can have a detrimental effect of placental perfusion and oxygenation to the fetus by not allowing sufficient re-oxygenation of the fetus between uterine contractions.  Prolonged tachysystole has been shown to have a cumulative negative effect on fetal oxygenation status and can lead to depletion of fetal reserves necessary to protect the fetus from harm during the course of labor.  Mr. Zaslow maintained that uterine tachysystole continues to be present throughout the remainder of the mother’s labor.

By 9 pm there were episodes of fetal tachycardia, with decreased variability and late decelerations. Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that over the course of several hours, the Defendant Obstetrician failed to appreciate evidence of a hostile uterine environment and fetal distress on the electronic fetal monitoring which should have prompted him to call for an emergency cesarean section. Instead, the plaintiff was not born until 12:54 a.m. the following morning. Plaintiffs’ experts opined that the delay in calling for an emergency cesarean section resulted in the infant sustaining an acute asphyxic event in the minutes before her birth which left her with significant brain damage.

The Plaintiffs’ experts were also critical of the labor and delivery nurses for not having appreciated the signs of tachysystole and fetal distress, and for not having invoked the hospital’s “chain of command” policy.  Plaintiffs claimed that the Nurses should have exercised the “chain of command” and circumvented the Defendant Obstetrician’s authority as the attending physician when the obstetrician failed to appreciate or react to the signs of fetal distress.