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The time has come for a paradigm shift in obstetrics' medico-legal litigations.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) represents the most common neuromuscular disability in childhood and it is caused by a multiplicity of factors. Intrapartum fetal surveillance is still a controversial issue: even though intrapartum hypoxia alone plays a minimal role in causing neonatal cerebral damage, obstetricians face a large number of medical malpractice litigations for alleged birth mismanagement. The cardinal driver of CP litigation is Cardiotocography (CTG): despite its suboptimal performance in reducing the occurrence of intrapartum brain injury, its ex post interpretation is widely used to evaluate the liability of the labor ward personnel in trials and, based on this, most caregivers are convicted. This article takes cue from a recent acquittal verdict by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation to challenge the role of intrapartum CTG as a medico-legal proof of malpractice. Because of its low specificity and poor inter- and intra-observer agreement, intrapartum CTG traces do not meet the Daubert criteria and, lastly, they should be weighed with caution in the context of a courtroom trial.

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