(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The Expert Evidence About the Defendant’s Multiple Breaches of the Standard of Care
Defendant Dr. Lee breached the standard of care in three significant ways. First, she failed to obtain complete information from the nurse concerning the status of the labor and delivery at 17:00. The standard of care for a physician, whether resident or attending, required the physician to learn from the nurse the data that is necessary for the physician’s own diagnosis and assessment of the fetal status. She cannot rely only upon the nurse’s interpretation of the data. Also, the standard of care required a physician to monitor Ms. Jackson closely, because of her pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. By failing to ask for specific information, the defendant failed to fulfill that duty.
Second, if the defendant had asked for and obtained accurate data about the status of the labor, then the standard of care required her to understand that the fetus was having severe variable decelerations, diminished variability, fetal tachycardia and that the fetus was at risk for hypoxia. The standard of care would have required the physician to order the Pitocin to be turned off, and to assess the fetus’s status immediately and personally. Instead, the defendant waited another 22 or 23 minutes before examining Ms. Jackson. For more information about this topic, please visit http://www.sacramentopersonalinjurylawyerblog.com/.
Third, the standard of care required the defendant to deliver the baby immediately – as rapidly as she could get to Ms. Jackson’s room after the 17:00 telephone call, which the defendant physician testified took only a couple of minutes.
If the defendant had gone to examine Ms. Jackson at 17:00, when she received the first call, the defendant would have learned that there was a significant risk of fetal compromise. A reasonable physician learning this information, acting within the standard of care, would have instituted measures to delivery the baby immediately at 17:00. (See Part 6 of 13.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.