A 29-year-old woman was admitted for a labor and delivery with her first child and Pitocin was used to augment the patient’s labor, which initially proceeded well. Subsequently, an emergency cesarean section was performed because of an arrest of decent. Immediately following the delivery, the uterus failed to contract (uterine atony) and the patient sustained a life-threatening hemorrhage. To save her life, an emergency hysterectomy had to be performed.
The plaintiffs claimed that our obstetricians utilized excessive amounts of Pitocin causing uterine hyperstimulation, which caused the uterine atony. Plaintiff’s expert, however, conceded on cross-examination that the defendants employed one of the accepted definitions of hyperstimulation and, using that definition, the patient did not, in fact, sustain hyperstimulation. Moreover, the plaintiff’s expert conceded that the medical literature did not support his contention that Pitocin caused uterine atony, but rather that the uterine infection that the mother contracted was a possible cause of the hemorrhage. The jury found for the defense.
The MC&B trial partner was Anthony M. Sola, assisted by Scott O. Frycek. (New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County).