Articles Posted in Birth Injury

Elien Lorenzo received prenatal care from Dr. Nelson Alvarez-Reyes, M.D., an obstetrician employed by the federally funded clinic. During her prenatal care, she received several ultrasounds at this clinic. One of the ultrasound reports estimated a delivery date based on her last menstrual period. The calculation of the delivery date was more than three weeks earlier than the baby’s gestational age based on the measurements taken during the ultrasound test. Later test reports also showed the discrepancy of the projected delivery date.

Despite this information, Dr. Alvarez-Reyes induced labor more than four weeks before Lorenzo’s baby had reached full gestational age.

Before the delivery, the baby was shown to be under fetal distress. The baby was later diagnosed as having suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The baby is now 4 years old and has developed mental delays, hearing loss and a seizure disorder.
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In this case, it was alleged by the mother of a baby, now 3 years old, that the child’s shoulder dystocia occurred during labor and delivery, which caused an unnecessary and avoidable injury to her child. According to the lawsuit brought on behalf of Baby Doe, the obstetrician allegedly applied traction to release the baby’s shoulders. As a result, however, Doe suffered a brachial plexus injury. Baby Doe has been diagnosed as having Erb’s Palsy, which has led to a disfigurement.

The Doe family sued the hospital maintaining that it was liable for the negligence of the obstetrician who mishandled the shoulder dystocia by applying excessive traction.

The defendant hospital reportedly argued that Baby Doe’s injuries were from maternal forces of labor rather than excessive traction. That is a common defense in shoulder dystocia cases. Before trial, the parties settled for $375,000.
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Vashti Daisley went to a hospital complaining of a lack of fetal movement during the late stages of her pregnancy. Dr. Donna Kasello, an obstetrician, performed a biophysical profile, which resulted in a score of two.

Dr. Kasello consulted a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Kimberly Heller, and the patient later underwent a repeat biophysical profile, which resulted in a score of eight. Dr. Kasello discharged Daisley after 30 additional minutes of fetal monitoring.

The next day, Daisley’s treating obstetrician performed an emergency biophysical profile. The results were not reassuring, leading to the delivery of Vashti Daisley’s son by Cesarean section.
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Kara Smalls was delivered by way of a Cesarean section surgery at Ouachita County Medical Center. Two hours after her birth, Kara’s bilirubin level was 5.5, which is an indication of high risk of hyperbilirubinemia.

Hyperbilirubinemia is a condition in a newborn in which there is too much bilirubin in the blood. When red blood cells break down, a substance known as bilirubin is formed. Babies are not easily able to rid themselves of bilirubin, and it can build up in the blood and other tissues of a baby’s body. The symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia are jaundice, which includes yellow tinged skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body. The baby can also run a fever or be fatigued. Other symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and paler than usual stools. Jaundice in a newborn is fairly common, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks gestation or preterm babies.Infant jaundice occurs most times because the baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to rid itself of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

In this case, over the next two days, nurses noted that Kara was mildly jaundiced. Nevertheless, the family physician, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, discharged the baby instructing her mother that everything was normal and that she should follow up with him in ten days.
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T’Miaya Smith’s son, J.H., began having seizures after his birth. A CT scan revealed ischemic injuries to his brain. Ischemic injuries result from the lack of blood flow to the brain causing brain damage. Smith, on behalf of her son, filed a lawsuit against Lauren Braswell, a midwife who provided care to Smith during her labor and delivery. The suit also named Atlanta Women’s Health Group, which was Braswell’s employer.

It was alleged that Braswell was negligent in the management of Smith’s labor and delivery. The defendants filed a motion to exclude the testimony of one of Smith’s expert witnesses. There was also a motion to exclude causation testimony from any of Smith’s expert witnesses and there was a motion for summary judgment. The trial judge granted the defendants’ motions. Smith appealed for the following reasons, but the appellate court affirmed.

Smith appealed to the Georgia Appellate Court to reverse the trial judge’s order excluding the testimony of the maternal-fetal medicine expert. The court stated, “The determination of whether a witness is qualified to render an opinion as an expert is a legal determination for the trial court and will not be disturbed absent a manifest abuse of discretion. The admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases provides:
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Wendy Castro developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. She underwent an induction of labor at a federally supported health care facility. The attending certified nurse midwife Barbara Carroll encountered shoulder dystocia during the delivery and allegedly responded by applying suprapubic pressure. A shoulder dystocia is an event during labor and delivery in which the newborn’s head is delivered but the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck on the mother’s public bone. In that case, the shoulders fail to deliver after the baby’s head.

Under these circumstances, Carroll then performed the McRoberts and Woods’ screw maneuvers, which are two of the usual maneuvers when this complication arises. “Dystocia” means a slow or difficult labor or birth.

Castro’s son suffered a left brachial plexus injury, a nerve injury caused by the stretching or contusions to the brachial plexus nerves as a result of the shoulder dystocia. He is now 4 years old. He has undergone surgery and has limited range of motion in his left arm because of the nerve damage. In some cases of shoulder dystocia the baby could suffer a birth asphyxia, lack of oxygen to the brain, which may cause permanent brain damage.
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The defendant, Edward Hospital, claimed that certain of its internal documents were confidential and that the Circuit Court of DuPage County, Ill., should not have ordered it to produce them during the discovery in a lawsuit for a medical malpractice and wrongful death. Edward Hospital insisted that the Medical Studies Act (735 ILCS 5/8-2101 et seq. (West 2014)) protects those documents from disclosure. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the trial judge was correct in that all documents at issue must be produced.

On Oct. 13, 2013, the plaintiff Abigail Kiersten Grosshuesch was admitted to Edward Hospital 30 weeks pregnant. Her baby, Isabella Kitsen Zormelo, was born the same day. Baby Isabella suffered from numerous medical issues, including necrotizing enterocolitis. Unfortunately, Baby Isabella died on Nov. 1, 2013.

In December 2013, Grosshuesch contacted Edward Hospital’s patient advocate and expressed concern about the care and treatment rendered to her and Isabella. Pursuant to Edward Hospital’s medical staff quality committee (MSQC) charter and its peer review policy (both enacted in 2008), the plaintiff’s concern in conjunction with Isabella’s death constituted “review indicators” resulting in a referral to the MSQC.
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An appeal from the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., ended up in the Missouri Supreme Court on the issue of a disqualifying motion of a juror who was alleged to have been biased. This was a medical malpractice lawsuit against Mercy Hospitals.

On March 13, 2013, the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Thomas, a minor, by his next friend and mother, Marlin Thomas, filed a medical negligence lawsuit in connection with the Cesarean section delivery. In the lawsuit, it was claimed that Baby Thaddeus suffered brain damage as a result of the negligence of the hospital’s medical providers before and during the labor and delivery.

During voir dire, jury selection, the Thomas attorney informed the venire panel, “[T]his case involves Mercy Clinics Physicians as the defendant and Mercy Clinic Hospital. Just knowing that they are defendants in this case, is there anyone that feels they might start off the case a little bit more in favor of one party or the other?”
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Marla Dixon was admitted to a hospital in labor. Her obstetrician was Dr. Ata Atogho, a U.S. government employee. Dr. Atogho attended the delivery.

After the heartrate monitor of the fetus showed decelerations and poor variability, a nurse discontinued Pitocin and called Dr. Atogho who arrived sixteen minutes later. Dr. Atogho restarted the Pitocin. Dixon labored for another hour and a half.

Dr. Atogho then used a vacuum extractor to deliver Dixon’s baby son, who was born in a depressed condition with Apgar scores of one at one minute and four at five minutes.
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Keyanna Vaughn, the mother of Marcus Crawford Jr., was first admitted to the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago for induction of labor on Aug. 11, 2009. This was done after test results were revealed during a prenatal visit.

On Aug. 12, 2009, a hospital intern and senior resident attempted vaginal delivery without success. Dr. Meredith Cruz was a maternal/fetal medicine fellow who took over at that time. Dr. Cruz had completed her OB/Gyn residency in June 2009 and had recently begun her maternal/fetal medicine program.

Dr. Cruz diagnosed that the fetus was experiencing shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is a specific situation arising in labor and delivery when the delivery of the baby’s head occurs, but the anterior shoulder of the baby cannot pass through the birth canal and requires the doctor’s or nurse midwife’s manipulation or maneuver to rotate the baby. In other words, a shoulder dystocia is diagnosed when the baby’s shoulders do not deliver right after the baby’s head is delivered. The baby gets stuck in the birth canal as a result, which can clearly be a very serious dilemma.
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