At 37 weeks gestation, Jomayra Rodriguez, 31, was admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital. Rodriguez, whose baby had abdominal ascites in his stomach, was then induced. Abdominal ascites is a condition in which fluid collects in spaces within the abdomen. As fluid collects, it can affect a patient’s lungs, kidneys and other organs. Ascites can cause abdominal pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting and often other physical ailments.
Rodriguez’s labor continued for three days but did not progress. Although she was scheduled for a cesarean section, the induction process was first restarted. Her baby suffered shoulder dystocia and then abdominal dystocia. Unfortunately, the baby died in Rodriguez’s uterus.
Rodriguez, individually and on behalf of her son, sued Yale University alleging wrongful death and mismanagement of the delivery. The Rodriguez family asserted that the defendant hospital should have performed a timely cesarean section considering the size of the baby, which exceeded the 90th percentile, or a timely abdominal paracentesis. Abdominal paracentesis is usually a simple bedside procedure in which a needle is inserted into the peritoneal cavity to remove the ascitic fluid.