Medical malpractice. What would you do?

Well, at my appointment last night, my last one at my first clinic, Dr. McK pointed out that the new practice I’d chosen, WGM, was found guilty in a multi-million-dollar malpractice case involving serious birth injuries. Huge sigh. Attached is a PDF:

Newborn’s Quadriparesis Blamed on Delayed Birth

In Lawyer’s Weekly (2004) I read:

According to Pegalis, a turning point in the trial was his questioning of Morris, in which she was unable to explain why she didn’t conduct further testing. Pegalis said he asked Morris how she would have been able to determine the health of the fetus if she only tested it at one point of time.

“She said, ‘You’d have to have ongoing evaluations,'” Pegalis recalled. “I asked my expert, ‘Do you agree?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked him, ‘Were there ongoing evaluations?’ He said, ‘No.’

And also read:

Morris also admitted that although she attributed the low fetal heartbeat to sleeping, she didn’t wait half an hour to take another test or suggest admitting Elizabeth Reden to the hospital for further testing.

“Clearly, the jury felt the most damaging thing relative to Dr. Morris was that she didn’t wait 30 minutes for the end of another sleep cycle,” Bartlett said.

Morris should have established a plan for Mrs. Reden for an ongoing assessment of the fetus’s health, Pegalis told jurors.

From what I’ve gathered, the onus is on Morris, who is no longer with WGM (I’m assuming due to this lawsuit). The doctor I saw, and liked, was Dr. Goldman. Dr. McK said that Dr. Goldman is “the best of the two” (Goldman, Wagner), but that I should “do my homework” and research, because Wagner has been sued more than average. He definitely seemed to be discouraging me from going there. He said he is friends with both of them, has known them for twenty years, but he wonders how much longer they are going to be able to practice, considering the insurance premiums they pay. A lot of inside information.

This is definitely a huge disappointment for me. I really love WGM—feel comfortable there. Plus I am about to take off to Ohio, will come back for a brief time, when I have my level 2 scan at WGM, and I don’t think I have time to establish care elsewhere before I leave. Both Dr. McK and the nurses at Huntington Hosp rec The Mount Sinai group—they deliver at HH, where I definitely want to give birth. So perhaps I should try somehow to switch before I leave…

How would you react to this news? Would you switch practices no matter what?

I am confused because I had such a lovely experience there and felt I’d found exactly what I was looking for, in the atmosphere and in Dr. Goldman. I know that we are an extremely litigious country, but from what I’ve read, this really does sound, in this particular case above, like negligence. It is hard not to take Dr. McK seriously, because he was recommending a lot of other practices, but clearly warning me about this one—and you know how much I trust and respect him and his opinion. He said that Dr. Wagner is a “cowboy” who has a reputation for being careless—an excellent surgeon but not necessarily someone you want delivering your baby (and he would, if he, and not Dr. Goldman, were at the hospital when I happen to go into labor).

Love to hear your thoughts. Will do more research today.

I must end with what is most important: Had another ultrasound, and baby was moving around, sucking his/her thumb, rubbing eyes, lips opening and closing like cute little fish lips. Incredible!


Leave a comment


  1. Geeta

     /  June 19, 2014

    I think u should take the advice from ur old clinic seriously. In my experience doctors do not say ill about another doc unless there was some thing to it. Maybe there is more to it than just what he told u. I am just being devils advocate. Just be cautious. That’s all I am saying.
    Whatever u chose in the end be 100% satisfied. Vacations will come and go. This is the most imp thing u will do . You been thru so much I wish u nothing but all happy days in future with the little one.

  2. Definitely something worth thinking about. You can always start care at WGM before your trip and focus on changing later if you want to. I’ve read more than one article encouraging women to change providers if they don’t feel comfortable, no matter how late in the game it is. One women did it just a few weeks before birth. So you have plenty of time to make choices. Doesn’t hurt to explore options.

  3. I have to agree with other comments. It’s not often you hear doctors try and steer you away from other doctors. I would certainly consider his advise especially if you trust him so much. I completely understand your dilemma though. It’s hard when you feel like in many ways, you’ve found the right place. Good luck with this decision.

  4. That’s a tough one. I read the PDF. Did I miss where the doctor gives a reason for waiting four hours or so before performing a C-section? That seems like a big deal to me.
    I’m guessing there are law suits all of the time that we don’t know about. It’s OK to stick with them now and switch if you start to feel you’re not getting the best care. That being said, if a problem popped up with my pregnancy, I might be nervous trusting them to make decisions about it. Maybe plan to meet with someone at the Mt. Sinai group and see if you like them just as much?

  5. That is concerning. I can’t imagine being so blasé about a flatline on a nonstress test. I had a flatline like that during one of mine and had the sense that if it had taken any longer for the heartbeat to show up I would have been whisked into the OR. Then I had to sit there and be monitored for another hour before they’d let me leave…
    I would just say – how would you feel if it ended up that he was the doctor doing your delivery. It’s such a stressful time which you have so little control over. I think for me that would freak me out.

  6. Wow! That’s crazy. Honestly, I don’t know what is do. Sorry that’s probably not much help. :/

  7. Thank you as always, ladies! I felt hesitant because I had such a warm experience with them and basically found exactly what I was looking for…but it didn’t take me long this morning to realize that I just would never feel comfortable staying there, after a doctor I trust so clearly was dissuading me, and also knowing that it would be possible that I might not get Dr. Goldman on day of delivery. I need to remove allllll stressors. I feel sad about it, especially since it doesn’t seem like Dr. Goldman had much to do with the lawsuit. But I don’t want to feel iffy about the practice in general.

  8. sounds like you’ve already decided but wanted to add my voice to the chorus. I would switch, hands down. sorry for the extra headache and disappointment, but i agree with you – how would you ever feel comfortable now that you know what you know?

  9. Oh girl this would be so tough! Hoping you find peace in whatever decision you choose. Hugs!

  10. Trust your instincts.
    Truth be told, my beloved Dr. Angel is not well-liked by some people and has a couple lawsuits pending. I know for a fact he can be a real jerk to people that rub him the wrong way, and this bothers me *but* he treats me like gold and has never done me wrong, and that’s all I can ask. XOXO

  11. I agree with every else here. This is tough and not so easy. However my biggest concern over the lawsuit is how negligent the Dr seemed to be in terms of the baby and the babies level of care. I am not sure that I could stay (or at least I’d have to look around) at a place that where a Dr. was going through that. I think that it’s brave of Dr. McK to say anything as most Dr.’s wouldnt cross that line. He may be giving you the inside track for a very good reason. Listen, ask options and act how it feels best for you and your soon-to-be one.

  12. Kelley

     /  June 19, 2014

    I am delurking for a comment. I am a NICU nurse at one of the top NICUs in the country. We frequently see infants with birth asphyxia. I don’t see enough in this article to say for certain one way or another. The strangest part for me is the apgars of 9/9. Babies who are depressed in utero and profoundly acidiotic typically come out with apgars in the 0-2 range and require aggressive resuscitation. You need to do what is right for you, but there isn’t enough in that link for me to say stay away for sure.

  13. wow, so tough! I agree though, since you trust Dr. McK’s opinion, it would be hard to go back there. xoxo

  14. Oh no! So difficult when you are in a good place with someone/somewhere and then you hear something bad about them. US system very different from UK so don’t know how best to advise but… think I might be tempted to switch. It would always be at the back of my mind.

  15. Personally, I’d avoid the clinic. My husband being a physician, well, I get inside stories often. There are a ton of awful docs out there. Keep in mind the general public is never allowed to see board results, meaning the test scores, or how their doctor lines up to others in the field. The best and the worst in the class are still out there practicing, and there are a ton who aren’t good at their job. Good luck with your research, the more you know the better.

  16. Kali

     /  July 8, 2014

    I take one doctor’s recommendation FOR another doctor with a grain of salt–that is usually because they’re friends, not based on performance.

    However, if a doctor who cares about you is steering you away from them–nothing would make me go to that doctor. Even if you could write off the information, how will you trust this doctor if a judgment call is needed at any point?

    Now that you have the doubt, it’s not worth the anxiety this doubt will cause.


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