Physician Not Responsible for Baby’s Death

On March 23, 2015, Jessica Mayotte, who was pregnant, visited Brattleboro Memorial Hospital after feeling contractions and experiencing bleeding…, Physician Is Not Responsible for Baby’s Death; Medical Center Accused of Protecting a Bad Apple, Wayne J. Guglielmo, MA, Nov 2022


As a teenager, Moyotte had suffered paraplegia as the result of a spinal cord injury. At Memorial Hospital, Mayotte’s providers, including her ob/gyn, measured her contractions and dilations and sent her home.


The patient was instructed to return if needed and to keep her scheduled March 25 appointment. After arriving back at her Brattleboro home, Mayotte fell asleep.


The following morning, she awakened, “horrified to see that [her newborn son] Michael was laying [sic] next to her, and that he appeared lifeless,” according to her later complaint. The motionless baby was rushed to Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Claiming that the standard of care had not been followed, the Mayottes sued Jessica’s treating team, including her ob/gyn, a certified nurse midwife, and an RN, along with the hospital.


At trial, an attorney for the defendants argued that the standard of care had in fact been followed. Among other things, the medical team had referred the patient to an expert in paraplegic deliveries, who said Mayotte would likely feel the sensations of labor. That she ultimately did not feel those sensations, argued the defense attorney, was evidence not of negligence but of the “unpredictability of medicine.”


The jury agreed, finding that the plaintiff and her legal team had not met their burden of proof. In a unanimous decision, it dismissed all complaints against the ob/gyn and the other providers and absolved the hospital of any corporate liability.


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