Jurors find for plaintiff in Gingrich case; reduce award to $200k

By Steve Gonzalez and Ann Knef | Oct 9, 2007

A Madison County jury awarded a fraction of damages sought in a medical malpractice claim against area obstetrician Tina Gingrich, M.D.

After a three-day trial jurors on Friday reached a verdict in favor of plaintiff Judy Thiel of Collinsville who had alleged Gingrich deviated from the standard of care when delivering a baby who suffers from Erb's Palsy.

Thiel had asked for $1.2 million in damages, but was only granted $200,000.

Thiel alleged Gingrich failed to perform a caesarian section when she had been in the second stage of labor for approximately three hours and the labor failed to adequately progress.

Madelyn Thiel was born Aug. 15, 1998.

Thiel also alleged Gingrich failed to stop the administration of Pitocin during labor when it was apparent that there was an arrest of descent when a shoulder dystocia was present, failed to order or perform screening or testing for gestational diabetes, failed to respond to a prolonged second stage of labor and failed to note, record or properly consider the measurements of her birth canal in assessing the risk for shoulder dystocia.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 5, 2004, also named Anderson Hospital as a defendant. The hospital later settled with Thiel.

Thiel further alleged Gingrich failed to properly assist, or order others to assist, the delivery of Madelyn from 5:40 a.m. through 8:40 a.m. of the day of delivery while inducing labor, improperly applied traction to the head, neck and shoulders of Madelyn during delivery, applied traction to Madelyn's head when the head was half out, allowed nurses to apply fundal pressure to her prior to the delivery of Madelyn's shoulders and applied excessive traction to the fetal head and neck prior to the delivery of the infant's shoulders.

Thiel also alleged Gingrich failed to properly administer or regulate medications during her labor and delivery, failed to properly supervise the nurses and others assisting the labor and delivery and improperly delayed delivery because of the lack of available space at Anderson Hospital.

According to Thiel, Madelyn was caused to suffer physical and emotional injuries that are permanent and progressive including shoulder dystocia resulting in injuries to her right shoulder and arm, brachial plexus and the nerves, muscles and tissues including an Erb's palsy with a grade four or five deltoid injury and internal rotation contracture, torticollis and brain injury and dysfunction.

Thiel claimed Madelyn had undergone numerous medical and surgical procedures to correct or mitigate the effects of the Erb's palsy, physical therapy, special education and programs and educational and other testing.

She also claimed Madelyn has and will continue to suffer mental and physical disability, emotional harm, and a disability in her ability enjoy life and conduct her social and economic affairs and future income.

Thiel claimed she had been damaged because she has become obligated to pay Madelyn's medical expenses, physical therapy expenses, extraordinary educational aids, evaluations and programs and other expenses related to Madelyn's injuries.

Gingrich was represented by Ransom Wuller of Belleville.

David Damick of St. Louis represented Thiel.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian presided.

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