A jury in the Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, Florida apportioned fault 80% to the treating obstetrician and 20% to the hospital, the nurses' employer.
The hospital had already settled out of the case after the trial started but before the jury began deliberations.
Nursing and Medical Negligence Alleged Nursing Negligence
The family's lawsuit alleged negligence by the hospital's nurses.
First, the labor and delivery nurse allegedly did not follow hospital rules for administration of Pitocin. The Pitocin was started, then increased after fifteen minutes. Five minutes later the mother's contractions became hypertonic. The nurse correctly stopped the Pitocin, gave [O.sub.2] and repositioned the mother. Ninety minutes later the nurse re-started the Pitocin.
Second, the nurses, in the opinion of the family's expert witness on nursing standards, failed to access the chain of command. Twenty minutes after re-starting the Pitocin the labor and delivery nurse observed late decelerations and found the mother had a 101 [degrees] fever.
The obstetrician did not want to do anything, so the labor and delivery nurse, acting correctly, went to her supervisor.
The nursing supervisor, however, did not speak with the obstetrician right away herself or ask a more senior nursing officer to step in. Two and one-half hours later, becoming more and more concerned with the monitor strips, the nursing...