November 13, 2012

A Missouri couple has filed a medical malpractice claim against an obstetrician, claiming that he pulled too hard on the baby’s head while the baby was stuck in the birth canal during birth, thereby decapitating the baby. Adding to the horror is the allegation in the medical malpractice complaint that the obstetrician attempted to cover up his negligence and what had occurred by pushing the baby back into his mother’s birth canal and thereafter performing an emergency Cesarean-section delivery before the woman was fully anesthetized.

The Missouri medical malpractice lawsuit that was filed in September, 2012, alleges that the expecting parents went to the woman’s obstetrician’s office for an appointment in February, 2011, during which the obstetrician advised them that their baby would have to be delivered by Cesarean section because the baby’s abdomen was too large for a vaginal delivery.

When the expectant mother went into premature labor at 28 weeks on March 22, 2011, the medical malpractice complaint alleges that the delivering obstetrician at the hospital refused to perform a Cesarean section and insisted on a vaginal delivery. The baby’s head was delivered but the rest of his body became stuck. As the obstetrician applied traction in an attempt to complete the delivery, the baby’s head separated from the rest of his body and blood squirted from his neck.


If the allegations stated in the couple’s medical malpractice lawsuit against the delivering obstetrician and his medical practice (the hospital was not named as a medical malpractice defendant) that claims unspecified damages for wrongful death of the baby and medical negligence are true, then this most egregious case of medical malpractice should give pause to medical malpractice tort reformers who insist on limiting the amount of damages that juries can award for emotional damages (noneconomic damages).

What amount of monetary damages awarded by a medical malpractice jury would adequately and fairly compensate the soon-to-be parents for the trauma they must have suffered when their baby’s head was negligently severed during the vaginal delivery that should not have been attempted in the first place, knowing that their baby’s bleeding body was pushed back into the delivering mother, and the obstetrician having subsequently cut through the mother’s tissues and muscles to perform a Cesarean section while the anesthesia provided to the mother was not yet fully effective? How could the parents ever forget the mental picture of their son’s body after he was mutilated? How can their aspirations and dreams for their baby comport with the nightmare they lived and continue to live? Who does not cringe and feel sick to their stomach reading about this horrific event that seems more like a Hollywood horror movie plot than something that happened in real life?

If you or someone you are close to experienced medical negligence that caused injuries (or worse) to a delivering mother and/or her newborn, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may be willing to investigate the possible negligent birth claim and file a medical malpractice claim, if appropriate.

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