On Sept. 17, 2009 Crystal McFadden was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in full-term labor. Her care was managed by a team of resident obstetricians under the direction of the defendant, Dr. Jeffrey Dungan, the supervising attending obstetrician.
During the course of her labor, the residents and nursing staff documented late and variable decelerations on the fetal heart monitor with periods of minimal or undetectable variability, but they described the fetal heart tracings as being reassuring overall.
Around 3 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2009, after McFadden had been trying to push for 1.5 hours, the fetal heart tracings became non-reassuring and the senior obstetrician resident called Dr. Dungan to perform delivery. By then the baby’s head was crowning, so the delivery was accomplished with a vacuum extractor. However, the infant was born with no signs of life. The neonatologist in the delivery room stated that the baby appeared to be hydropic with generalized swelling, ascites (accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity), and pleural effusion.