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Victory for Obstetricians in Birth Injury Cases – Health Law and Regulation Update Blog by D. Gary Lovell, Jr.

Recent Health Law and Regulation Update Blog by D. Gary Lovell, Jr

Obstetricians can rely upon immunity from simple negligence claims under South Carolina’s “medical emergency” statute, according to the South Carolina Court of Appeals. In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals upheld a defense verdict obtained by CSVL senior litigation partner Gary Lovell in favor of our ob/gyn client for claims arising from a sudden medical emergency involving shoulder dystocia that presented during delivery. The Court of Appeals upheld the defense position that provisions of S.C. Code Section 15-32-230(A)  controlled and required that Plaintiffs prove “gross negligence” of the medical practitioner in cases involving shoulder dystocia and a genuine medical emergency during delivery of a child. The court rejected Plaintiff’s argument that the Statute was inapplicable in situations where the patient was an established patient of the obstetrician or group or had received prenatal care. The Court noted that it was undisputed that the shoulder dystocia condition presented a “genuine medical emergency”, where the patient was not medically stable and in immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury prior to discharge from the obstetrical suite.

Mitchell Brown and Brian Cotty of Nelson Mullins were appellate counsel along with Attorney Lovell. Oral argument on the case was held “virtually” on June 23, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on in-person oral arguments.

Flowers v Giep, CA 2017-002299 (10/6/2021)

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