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Carman v. Dippold

OPINION FILED AUGUST 18, 1978.

DARYL CARMAN, ADM'R OF THE ESTATE OF KELLI NICOLE CARMAN, DECEASED, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

ANTON DIPPOLD, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Coles County; the Hon. WILLIAM J. SUNDERMAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Doctor Anton Dippold, M.D., had delivered 1,400 babies over the prior 20 years.

But the Carman baby died.

Medical malpractice alleged.

Jury held for the physician.

We must reverse.

Jette Carman entered into labor on March 31, 1975, and was sent to Mattoon Memorial Hospital after being checked by Dr. Dippold. At approximately 6:20 p.m., Dr. Dippold artificially ruptured Jette Carman's uterine membranes to help speed delivery through a medical procedure known as amniotomy. This was the first time he was aware that the baby was in a breech position (aftercoming head) as opposed to the normal cephalic position (head first). A previous check of the fetal heart tones had suggested that the baby was in a cephalic position.

Jette Carman and the attending nurse both stated that when the membranes were ruptured the doctor did not inform Carman as to the baby's breech position. Dr. Dippold, however, believed he did inform her, but did not "make a production of it" as her pressure had gone up and he did not want to excite her any more. He felt that it was his job to be aware of the possibilities and consequences. But Doctors Morhaim, Hamilton, and Lin testified at trial that they believed the parents should be informed of a baby's abnormal position.

Shortly after Mrs. Carman's membranes were ruptured, Nurse Parkhurst discussed with Dr. Dippold the guidelines that were posted in the labor department of the hospital. Those guidelines read in part:

"MEMBERS OF THE STAFF

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

Please observe the following suggestions to upgrade the OB Department's performance.

1. No amniotomy unless in labor.

2. No amniotomy until presenting part is engaged.

3. All breech —

(a) pelvimetry should be ordered.

(b) amniotomy should not be done.

CONSULTATION

Members without full privileges should seek a consultation with a member of the staff with full privileges in the following cases: (Primi means nullipara here.)

1. Primi inductions

2. Primi breech

12. Fetal ...


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