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$1,900,000 Recovery in Cerebral Palsy Mid-Wife Case Involving a Home Birth

Daryl L. Zaslow of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP (Edison, Red Bank and Toms River), obtained a $1.9 million settlement on behalf of a 5 year old boy with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. The case arose out of a planned home birth performed by a certified mid-wife. Plaintiffs’ experts maintained that the Defendant mid-wife failed to appreciate a prolonged second stage of labor and that the mother needed to be transferred the nearest hospital once her second stage of labor approached 2 hours. Long second stages of labor are associated with increased fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality because fetal reserves may become low from the stress of prolonged labor and pushing. Plaintiffs maintained that long second stages of labor may be indicative of impending problems and the Defendant mid-wife failed to appreciate or react to the length of the second stage which was at minimum 2 hours and 47 minutes.

Plaintiffs’ experts opined that the delay in transferring the mother to the nearest hospital where an emergency cesarean section would have been performed resulted in the infant sustaining an acute asphyxic event in the minutes before his birth which left him with significant brain damage.

The parents signed a detailed Home Birth Consent Form which advised them that certain emergencies may occur during a home birth and that the level and type of care they receive at a home birth would be different and less than they would receive if the delivery was performed at a hospital.

The multiple defense experts opined that the second stage of labor was not too long and did not necessitate that she be transferred to the nearest hospital. A neuro-radiologist expert for the defense also maintained that the child’s neurological insult occurred several days before the birth. Finally, the defendant’s obstetrical expert testified that because the home birth did not include the use of electronic fetal monitoring it was impossible to know whether the baby was in a hostile intra-uterine environment and required an emergency cesarean section. Click here to read more about the case.