$47 Million Jury Verdict for Negligent Bandaging of Newborn’s Head

A premature Baby Doe, at 30 weeks’ gestation, was delivered at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. Shortly after her birth, Baby Doe was diagnosed as having a right-sided cephalohematoma, which was confirmed by a CT scan.

A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that occurs underneath the skin in the periosteum of an infant’s skull bone. Cephalohematoma does not pose any risk to the brain, but it causes unnecessary pooling of the blood from damaged blood vessels between the skull and the interlayers of the baby’s skin. In almost all cases, a cephalohematoma will go away within weeks or months. It usually appears as a bump on a baby’s skull.

The defendant neonatologist, Dr. John Chan, diagnosed Baby Doe as having a subgaleal hemorrhage and ordered that the baby’s head be wrapped with an ACE bandage as a pressure dressing.

The next day, Baby Doe began oozing serous fluid and developed increased edema above the bandage. A physician’s assistant loosened the bandage; however, the drainage of serous fluid through the side of the ACE bandage continued.

Two days after the bandage was first applied, a hospital staff person removed it. Areas of Baby Doe’s head became necrotic and bruised, and she continued to drain large amounts of serous fluid. A plastic surgeon concluded that Doe’s wounds resulted from a pressure injury.

Doe is now 5 years old and has scarring and disfigurement on her head. She is unable to grow hair on much of her scalp. She will require future surgery to improve her condition.

Doe’s parents, on her behalf, sued Dr. Chan and the hospital alleging that they failed to properly manage the cephalohematoma, negligent application of the ACE bandage wrapping in the presence of the cephalohematoma, and chose not to ensure the bandage was not applied too tightly.

The Doe family also charged that the hospital failed to adopt rules and policies addressing the treatment of newborns with cephalohematoma and the use of uncommon procedures, such as wrapping of baby’s head in elastic bandages.

The jury signed a verdict for $47 million, which included $3.3 million for future medical care.

The attorneys successfully handling this case were Dominic C. Gurrini and Mark S. Polin.

Doe v. Chan, No. 3:15-cv-277 (W.D. Pa.)

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth trauma injury lawsuits, hospital negligence cases, labor and delivery negligence lawsuits and brain injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Gurnee, Crystal Lake, Cary, Rosemont, River Forest, Oak Forest, Palatine, Chicago (North Lawndale, Gresham, Hegewisch, South Shore, East Side, Bridgeport, Canaryville, Bronzeville, Rogers Park, Albany Park, Jefferson Park), Orland Park, Vernon Hills, Glencoe, Northfield and Winnetka, Ill.

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