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.