Articles Posted in Birth Injury

Terri Franklin had a history of hypertension. For that condition, she was prescribed Benicar. When she became pregnant at age 30, she continued to take Benicar while receiving prenatal care from obstetrician Dr. Alvin Sermons.

Her baby had a stroke in-utero, and after the birth, the baby was diagnosed as having brain damage, skull abnormalities, and intestinal and kidney problems. It is likely that the child will require a kidney transplant in the near future.

Franklin and the child’s father, individually and on the child’s behalf, sued Dr. Sermons and his practice, Dunwoody Obstetrics & Gynecology P.C., alleging that Dr. Sermons had negligently allowed Franklin to continue on the blood pressure medication while she was pregnant.
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Kimberly Kirkwood-Boulter was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital to deliver her first baby. During labor and delivery, the nurse responsible for monitoring the baby’s heart rate had difficulty differentiating Kirkwood-Boulter’s heartbeat from her unborn baby’s. This occurred during the second stage of labor, which lasted about 6 hours.

In spite of all of this, Kirkwood-Boulter was encouraged to push, and the obstetrical team did not switch from intermittent fetal monitoring by way of a handheld device to continuous monitoring.
Kirkwood-Boulter’s baby boy was born severely acidotic and not breathing. The baby’s Apgar scores were one at one minute and three at five minutes, which are low scores for a newborn. Now the child is 6 years old and suffers from brain damage. He cannot walk, talk or feed himself.

Kirkwood-Boulter and her husband sued the hospital, members of its delivery team, and the employer of the attending nurse, Cross Country Staffing Inc. It was alleged in the lawsuit that these defendants chose not to provide continuous monitoring during the labor and delivery.
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This case arose from the tragic set of events involving A.F., a baby born with severe respiratory problems who developed permanent brain damage. A.F.’s mother, Kayla Butts, brought this lawsuit claiming that A.F.’s brain damage was caused by the medical malpractice of Dr. Sarah Hardy. It was alleged that Dr. Hardy should have transferred Baby A.F. from the hospital where A.F. was born to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit that could have provided the care A.F. needed in the hours after her birth.

After a bench trial, the district court agreed and entered judgment in favor of Kayla Butts for over $7 million in damages. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals considered whether she presented sufficient evidence to establish that Dr. Hardy violated the applicable standard of care.

Because the district court’s finding on that issue was clearly erroneous, the court of appeals reversed the district court’s order and vacated the judgment against Dr. Hardy.
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Talanda Blevins, 38, was admitted to a hospital for an induction of labor. She was attended by obstetrician Dr. James Holzhauer. During her labor, her uterus ruptured, resulting in fetal distress.

Dr. Holzhauer performed a cesarean section, during which it was alleged that Dr. Holzhauer lacerated the patient’s bladder.

She suffered significant blood loss while in recovery, and this was reported to Dr. Holzhauer.
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This was a case involving claims of birth injury and medical negligence-wrongful death. Plaintiffs Abraham J. Eoff and Crystal M. Eoff, on behalf of Sophee R. Eoff, deceased, appealed the trial court’s judgment entered in favor of the defendant, Jennifer K. McDonald, D.O. and Seasons Healthcare for Women, P.C., following a jury trial. The Eoffs claimed that the trial court erred by denying them the right to ask “the insurance question.”

The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial.

“Appellants brought claims for medical negligence against Respondent based on allegations that Respondent Dr. McDonald caused the decedent’s death in which he used a vacuum extractor improperly during labor and delivery of Crystal Eoff. Appellants learned that Respondents maintained a medical malpractice liability policy with Missouri Doctors Mutual Insurance Company (MDMIC) . . .”
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Shunteria McIntyre, 20, received prenatal care from Dr. Orlando Muniz. Over a three-month period, she lost 26 pounds and complained of nausea and vomiting while visiting Dr. Muniz. She suffered additional weight loss later as well.

After eventually delivering a still-born baby, McIntyre died at her home. The cause was determined to be septicemia, acute diarrhea, and intrauterine fetal demise.

McIntyre’s personal representative brought a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Muniz among others. The trial court dismissed the case reasoning that McIntyre’s pre-suit medical expert was not qualified to provide expert opinion testimony under Florida law and that McIntyre also chose not to comply with the pre-suit discovery process for medical malpractice claims under Florida law.
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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.
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More than a few studies have been conclusive showing that infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy have benefited when cooled to a temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade in a median time of 58 minutes. The cooling of newborns inspired oxygen requirements in a test involving six infants diagnosed with HIE.

Five of those infants required inotropic support during the cooling procedure. The cooling would be progressively reduced after 1-2 days. Inotropic support is the intensive care of newborns to stabilize circulation and to optimize oxygen supply.

Over the years, HIE has been recognized much more frequently. The onset of cases of HIE are caused by stroke, compressive forces or changes in oxygen circulating through the fetus before and immediately after delivery.
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Two weeks after Baby Doe’s premature birth, she developed signs of jaundice. Seven hours later, a check of her bilirubin revealed a severely elevated level of 29. The attending doctor ordered retesting of the bilirubin level but did not order any treatment.

Hours later, when a second bilirubin test showed a level of 27.1, the same doctor was notified by nurses of the out-of-balance level. By the next morning, the child’s bilirubin level increased to 32.1. Another physician began treating Baby Doe the next morning and ordered phototherapy, which began more than 17 hours after Baby Doe’s first bilirubin test was reported to the first doctor. Phototherapy is the usual treatment for jaundiced newborns.

Baby Doe suffered kernicterus resulting from severe jaundice. Kernicterus is a kind of brain damage caused by excessive jaundice, just as Baby Doe had endured. Baby Doe is now 10 years old. She suffers from cerebral palsy and cannot speak or walk. The Doe family sued the health system that employed the doctors involved alleging that they chose not to timely test Baby Doe’s bilirubin level at the first signs of jaundice and chose not to timely treat the jaundice. That failure caused the child’s permanent and severe injuries.
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Grayson Charlton, a twin, was in the breech position at the time of her delivery at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. The treating obstetrician, Dr. Steven Troy, allegedly applied traction to deliver Grayson, resulting in a popping sound. After the delivery, Grayson was diagnosed as having suffered a spinal cord injury and avulsed nerve roots to her right arm.

Grayson is now 5 years old and is paralyzed from the chest down requiring her to be confined to a wheelchair. Grayson has undergone extensive physical and occupational therapy.
Grayson’s parents, individually and on Grayson’s behalf, sued Dr. Troy, the hospital and two health networks under an agency theory, claiming liability for Dr. Troy choosing not to prevent the baby’s head from becoming hyperextended during the delivery.

The Charlton family experts testified that Grayson’s injuries could have occurred only after application of excessive longitudinal traction.
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