Articles Posted in Birth Injury

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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Illinois is not one of the many states that have enacted non-economic damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits. However, Illinois lawmakers have three times voted to enact such laws; each was found unconstitutional for a variety of reasons.

According to a paper completed by Rutgers Law School Professor Sabrina Safrin, caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases have no effect on a procedure that’s among the most commonly undertaken in operating rooms across the United States: cesarean sections. “C-sections are arguably the poster child for so-called-defensive medicine,” the professor wrote in her paper.

C-sections involve cutting through a mother’s abdomen and uterine wall to remove the fetus. In many cesarean delivery cases, the fetus may have been observed to be in distress. By delivering an emergency C-section child, the purpose is preventing brain damage, cerebral palsy and other life-altering birth injuries.
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In this confidential settlement, the case arose after Ms. Doe was admitted to a hospital in pre-term labor at 29 weeks gestation. During her 39-hour admission, she received medication to prevent a premature delivery. The hospital staff then discharged her. One day later, laboratory results revealed that she had an E-coli urinary tract infection and that she was positive for Group B strep.

Within a week, she went into labor and delivered her baby by Cesarean section. The baby has been diagnosed as having brain damage, resulting in cerebral palsy, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Doe sued the hospital and several treating healthcare providers alleging that they chose not to administer antibiotics before discharging her from the hospital based on her pre-term labor and preliminary lab results, which were available before her discharge.
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Sarina Finzer and Jeremy Hardison were born with severe birth defects. Their disabilities were claimed to have been caused in utero by their fathers’ exposure to toxic chemical fumes and airborne substances during their employment at Motorola Inc.’s semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona and Texas. The parents of these children are seeking damages, suing Motorola for (1) negligence, (2) strict tort liability, (3) breach of an assumed duty, (4) willful and wanton misconduct, and (5) loss of child consortium relating to the children’s birth defects and impairment to the parent-child relationship.

At the trial court level, it was found that plaintiffs could prove no set of facts that would entitle them to relief and thus the trial judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint pursuant to Section 2-615 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal, asserting that the trial judge erred in finding that (1) the exclusive remedy provision of the respective state workers’ compensation laws barred their claims, (2) no duty was owed to a not-yet conceived child, and (3) proximate cause could not be established as a matter of law, given that the fathers did not sustain an injury. Plaintiffs also claimed that the trial court erred in dismissing the willful and wanton misconduct count and the plaintiffs’ loss of child consortium count, which depended on pleading a viable cause of action for negligence.
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