Negligence in Twin Prenatal Care Leads to Permanent Brain Injury

medical malpractice

The risk of birth injury and other complications is automatically higher with a twin pregnancy, and as a result, medical professionals frequently classify them as high-risk situations.

Despite the known risks, when an ultrasound tech viewed Maria Tapia’s abdominal ultrasound and identified a serious medical condition in one of the twins that she was carrying, maternal-fetal medicine specialist Garry Frisoli of New Jersey failed to pass the information on to Tapia’s obstetrician until four days later. In the interim, the fetus suffered medical complications that resulted in permanent brain damage.

Upon hearing the details of the birth injury lawsuit, a jury in Union County, New Jersey decided that Frisoli and Tapia’s obstetrician were legally liable for the damage that the fetus suffered. They decided that the infant was owed $20 million in damages, with 70 percent of the fault allocated to the obstetrician and 30 percent of the fault attributable to the lack of action on Frisoli’s part.

The verdict was broken down into $11 million for the cost of the child’s future care, $8 million for the disability that she suffered, and $1 million to the parents for the loss of consortium. The obstetrician in the birth injury lawsuit agreed to an out-of-court settlement that has not been disclosed.

Jury Told that Birth Injury Was Due to Failure to Treat

Frisoli attempted to blame the infant’s cerebral palsy on a previously-existing condition rather than on the birth injury that occurred after the ultrasound taken during the 33rd week of Tapia’s pregnancy had identified intrauterine growth retardation, a condition that leads to one twin getting insufficient nutrition. When the ultrasound tech diagnosed the condition, they placed the report in the Frisoli’s office, but it was not faxed to the obstetrician until four days later.

During the time between the scan being taken and the obstetrician receiving the results the fetus stopped breathing and suffered brain damage. Expert witnesses indicated that the normal standard of care would be to immediately telephone the mother’s physician with the test results. The incident, which took place 11 years ago, left the child profoundly brain damaged: she is unable to speak and permanently reliant on a wheelchair.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.