Massachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Defense Verdict in Stillbirth Medical Malpractice Case

empty nursery roomIn the recent case of Milambo v. Satlin, a Massachusetts appellate court affirmed a ruling in favor of the defense in a medical malpractice case involving the stillbirth of a child. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was the father of a child who was stillborn. The baby was delivered via Caesarian section (C-section) during 2007. The father brought the lawsuit in his capacity as the personal representative of the deceased infant’s estate.

According to the complaint, roughly 45 minutes passed between the moment that the physician overseeing the birth informed the mother that a C-section procedure was needed and the time that the mother provided her consent to proceed with the procedure. After the child was delivered via C-section, it was discovered that the infant had a zero score on the Apgar scale and lacked any detectable pulse.

The father named the doctors who performed the C-section procedure in the complaint, contending that they acted negligently in waiting 45 minutes to obtain the mother’s consent and that the child was stillborn as a result of this unnecessary and inexcusable delay. In response, the defendants stated that the mother refused to consent to the procedure until 45 minutes after the attending physician informed her that it was necessary and that this was out of their control. They described the stillbirth as the result of an undetermined cause and something that was not foreseeable.

After a trial on the matter, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff filed an appeal based on evidentiary rulings and the instructions provided to the jury. On appeal, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the trial court’s rulings, finding that the lower court did not commit any reversible evidentiary errors. The plaintiff argued that the lower court should not have allowed certain papers related to the plaintiff’s divorce proceedings to be admitted at trial, but the appellate court concluded that the lower court did not allow the documents to be admitted as evidence.

The appellate court also rejected the contention that the trial court erred in allowing the defense attorney to refer to the documents on cross-examination. According to the appellate court, the plaintiff opened the door to material regarding the nature and circumstances surrounding his divorce when he testified that the stillbirth and loss of his son was a contributing factor to his separation from the infant’s mother. Finally, the appellate court concluded that the lower court did not err when it ruled on the admissibility of information regarding the father’s alleged domestic violence case involving the child’s mother.

If you have suffered injuries as the result of a medical professional’s negligent acts or failures, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Law Offices of John S. Moffa, our skilled team of medical malpractice lawyers has handled numerous highly complex cases and understands how traumatic this situation is for your loved ones and you. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about the legal aspects of your case and how our firm may be able to assist you in seeking the compensation that you deserve. Call us now at 1-800-446-4485 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

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