Articles Posted in Missouri

Missouri Lawyers Weekly reports on a recent medical malpractice defense verdict after an 8 day trial in Buchanan County, Missouri in favor of an obstetrician and nurse involving a difficult deliver almost 12 years ago.

Shoulder dystocia can result from a difficult childbirth where the baby’s head is able to clear but the shoulders – typically one shoulder – will not come out. Not surprisingly, this problem develops with larger babies.

The doctor in this case argued that he used fundal pressure and forceps to clear the shoulder. Defendants further claimed there was no shoulder dystocia and any complications the baby had must have occurred in utero (I’m assuming the last part).

According to an article in Missouri Lawyers Weekly, a Jackson County jury recently found for the defendant doctors in a medical malpractice claim for failure to diagnose Plaintiff’s appendicitis, causing the appendix to perforate, leading to peritonitis. Fortunately for the Plaintiff, she had already received a settlement from other doctors who have provided care to her from this incident. At trial, the defendant doctors pointed to the empty chair defendants.

It might have made sense to settle out with the other defendants in this case. We don’t know what the numbers were. But a trial is a search for blame and it is always easier for a jury to blame someone who is not in the room.

The Kansas City Star reported last month that the average plaintiffs’ verdicts in the Kansas City metro area last year averaged nearly $1.3 million, nearly double the 2006 average of $688,337.

Does this mean that Kansas City juries have become remarkably more liberal? No. Now is the time to dust off all of those “you can prove anything with statistics” clichés.

Average verdicts are always misleading because they involve highs that completely distort the average which is why most statistical analysis of jury verdicts uses the median verdict not the average jury verdicts.