Defense Verdict in New York County

Elizabeth Cornacchio received a defense verdict in New York County in a medical malpractice case against a major metropolitan hospital and doctor.

Plaintiff, a then 32-year-old woman, delivered at 40 weeks and 1 day after induction of labor.  Plaintiffs claimed a negligent failure to appreciate the size of the fetus (4155 grams) and the potential for the complications which occurred, a shoulder dystocia and fourth degree laceration.  Plaintiff also claimed negligent failure to appreciate an arrested first stage of labor and a prolonged second stage of labor that should have resulted in a Cesarean section.  While the infant was successfully delivered vaginally via McRoberts position and suprapubic pressure, a fourth degree laceration ensued.  Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries, including three subsequent corrective surgeries, incontinence and partial incontinence due to failure to perform a Cesarean section or properly repair the laceration.  There was no claim for the infant. 

The defense argued that the delivery was appropriately managed and that a fetal weight of nine pounds two ounces does not mandate operative delivery.  Further,  the first and second  stages of labor proceeded in accordance with accepted standards, a trial of labor was appropriate, and the repair was properly performed.  Any subsequent failure of the repair was also an accepted complication due to the patient’s idiosyncratic healing abilities.

The jury returned a defense verdict on February 14, 2011.