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Undiagnosed Placental Abruption Results in Death of Fetus

Confidential settlement was reached

Mr. and Mrs. Stone were so excited to have their first child. Mrs. Stone had a routine pregnancy and routine medical care up until June 25th. On that day, at approximately 27.5 weeks into her pregnancy, Mrs. Stone began to feel abdominal pain.

Luckily, she had a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment that day. By the time she arrived at the doctor, it had been more than four hours since she had felt any fetal movement. She was seen by a nurse midwife first and then by her doctor.

Mrs. Stone was sent to the hospital because her pain was thought to have come from dehydration. For approximately five hours, the nurses at the hospital thought they were monitoring Mrs. Stone’s fetus with electronic fetal monitoring, and that the fetus was alive and well. However, in the late evening, nurses “lost” the fetal heart rate. Fetal death was diagnosed and then later confirmed by ultrasound.

It turns out that Mrs. Stone’s placenta had partially abrupted. This means that the placenta began to tear away from the wall of the uterus. This causes bleeding, and as the bleeding continues, the baby is deprived of blood and of oxygen.

The Eisen Law Firm was able to show that the nurses and doctors who were caring for Mrs. Stone failed to properly monitor the condition of the baby, resulting in the baby’s death. By carefully analyzing the fetal monitor printout, The Eisen Law Firm discovered that after Mrs. Stone returned from a trip to the bathroom and the fetal monitor was re-applied, the nurses and doctors made a critical mistake: they failed to realize that the monitor actually was capturing Mrs. Stone’s heart rate, doubling it, and displaying it as the baby’s heart rate. This is a well-known phenomenon, and the doctors and nurses should have recognized what was happening.

With proper monitoring, it would have become apparent that the baby’s condition was deteriorating due to the partial placental abruption, and there would have been time to deliver the baby by emergency Cesarean section.

Armed with a solid theory of the case, The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a confidential settlement on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Stone.