$9 million verdict using Rules of the Road

The Rules of the Road technique proved itself again last week in a trial in Roanoke, Virginia. After only four hours of deliberation at the end of a two-week trial, a jury that included a health care provider (a cardiac catheter lab technologist) returned a verdict of a combined $9 million for a brain-injured baby and the child's mother against two obstetricians and their practice group. Lead counsel for the plaintiffs was Rules of the Road coauthor Patrick Malone, ably helped by Jeff Krasnow of Roanoke.

Malone and Krasnow faced a case that the defense contended was far too complex and confusing for jurors to decide—just the situation where the Rules of the Road method is the most helpful. The case involved a baby who was born with severe anemia (having lost around half of her blood volume) after an amniocentesis at thirty-seven weeks of gestation. The amnio, which had been done to check the baby's lung maturity for a planned early induction of labor, was stopped when the OB went through the placenta twice with his needle and obtained a "bloody tap" rather than clear amniotic fluid. The Rules Malone and Krasnow developed with their liability experts included:

  • Leave a healthy unborn baby alone unless the doctor really needs to do something.
  • If the obstetrician injures the baby (or umbilical cord or placenta) by an invasive test, it's the OB's job to make sure the baby remains okay with further monitoring.
  • If the OB cannot be sure the baby remains okay after he has caused an injury, then the OB needs to rescue the baby promptly.
  • If there are reasonable options, the obstetrician must inform the patient so the patient can make an intelligent choice.

This last rule related to the plaintiff's contention that the mother deserved to know that the early delivery plan was completely optional and not necessary, and thus the amnio was not needed. In addition, once the bleeding occurred in the amnio, the mother also deserved to know of the option for an immediate Cesarean section rather than the induction of labor that the obstetricians put her through.

Malone is the author of the new book (with Rick Friedman) Winning Medical Malpractice Cases: With the Rules of the Road Technique. The book provides real-world examples of how to use the concepts in Rules of the Road, with trial transcripts annotated with a directors' commentary by Malone and Rick Friedman. These real transcripts and the authors' commentary allow you to see how the Rules of the Road technique is used correctly. They also give you insight as to why the authors made certain choices before and during the trial. The book reveals cutting edge ways to win medical malpractice cases used by the authors and other members of the Inner Circle of Advocates.


Winning Medical Malpractice Cases
With the Rules of the Road™ Technique