In West Palm Beach, FL, a Boca Raton obstetrician disputed in March 2015 the theory that he used a vacuum pump to deliver a baby because he was cutting corners.
Obstetrics is a surgical specialty dealing with the female reproductive organs. An obstetrician deals with the surgical management of the clinical pathology involving female reproductive organs, and provides care for pregnant and non-pregnant patients.
The baby’s parents filed a multimillion-dollar medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.
The baby boy will always have the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.
Witnesses throughout the trial were asked about the doctor’s late arrival at West Boca Medical Center. They testified it was because his car broke down. Dr. Samuel Kaufman testified to a Palm Beach County Circuit Court jury that he never cut corners because he was concerned about his BMW rather than the baby. A witness testified that when the doctor walked into the delivery room, nearly 10 hours after the mother arrived, he was on his cell phone about his car. As he was examining the mother, the phone in the room rang. A nurse held the phone to the doctor’s ear while the mother gave birth.
On his decision to put a suction cup on the baby’s head: “It’s not only reasonable — it’s a common approach,” according to the doctor. The doctor used the pump to pull the parent’s son out on March 6, 1998. The doctor said: “You’re a physician. Your patient’s in pain. You want to relieve the pain.”
As opposed to claims by the son’s mother, the doctor said he told her about the risks of using the pump: “I have never not discussed the use of the vacuum, or any other surgical procedure for that matter, with my patient.”
The doctor said the plaintiffs misinterpreted notes he made after the baby’s birth. He explained he used the vacuum pump as a result of “maternal exhaustion.”
When the doctor attached the vacuum pump, the boy’s mother testified that she had enough strength to push. The doctor explained the mother was not too tired to push: “I don’t mean the person is so physically tired they can’t do anything.”
The doctor made the decision to use the vacuum pump because the baby was almost out and his head was in the right position. He said the pump was an “easy and safe” method to assist the mother.
The boy’s parents claimed using the pump was unnecessary, and led to severe brain damage to the baby. Now at age 17, the son wears diapers and needs help to walk.
Dr. William Roberts, an obstetrician Kaufman hired, said he would have allowed the mother to continue pushing instead of using the vacuum pump. However, Roberts testified, even though he would have waited to use the pump, and records indicated the mother was pushing effectively, Kaufman violated no standards of conduct.
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