DE LA CRUZ v. HOSPITAL, ET AL.
State of Wisconsin/Circuit Court/Dane County
In this three-week medical negligence case, defense counsel secured a verdict in favor of a Madison Hospital and a UW family medicine physician where plaintiff claimed that a delay in cesarean section delivery resulted in a child's cerebral palsy. During labor and delivery, an unusual presentation of the fetus was recognized. Plaintiff contended that the unique presentation mandated immediate consultation with an obstetrician, which would have resulted in an earlier cesarean section delivery. Plaintiff alleged that the hospital nursing staff was negligent for failing to provide additional intrauterine resuscitation during labor efforts and by failing to exercise the chain of command to effectuate an earlier obstetrical consultation. The case involved extensive discovery of more than 90 depositions and over 40 pretrial dispositive motions and motions in limine. The Circuit Court Judge appointed a Special Discovery Master to oversee all discovery including depositions and discovery disputes. Prior to trial the Circuit Court dismissed a number of causes of action including: 1) all claims of vicarious liability as to the UW physicians; and 2) a claim for negligent credentialing and privileging against the hospital regarding the privileging of the UW physician, and 3) a claim of negligent hiring, training and supervision against the hospital of its nursing staff. The issues of standard of care, causation, damages and life expectancy remained contested at trial. Over 30 experts were identified by the parties. In final argument, plaintiff's counsel requested an award for future medical and health care expenses in excess of $33 million. By unanimous verdict, the jury found no negligence on either the defendant physician nor hospital and its employees.