Articles Posted in Birth Injury

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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Rebecca Kerrins, 38, was admitted to Palos Community Hospital in the Chicago suburb to deliver her second child. Following labor, she reported feeling a gush of blood. This was later diagnosed as a placental abruption.

Because of the placental abruption, her daughter lost up to 60% of her blood supply necessitating a blood transfusion at her birth.

Nurses paged the on-call neonatologist, Dr. Thomas Myers, every few minutes. Dr. Myers did not respond for almost an hour. He arrived at the hospital one hour and 12 minutes after the nurses first paged him.
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The United States government has withdrawn its appeal after a U.S. District Court judge in Pennsylvania signed a judgment order in the amount of $42 million for the parents of a young boy who was disabled from brain injuries apparently caused by the use of forceps during his birth.

Regan Safier, the attorney for the family of the minor child, identified only as D.A., commented that the government found that an appeal of the judgment would not be successful.

The U.S. attorney, David J. Freed said, “We respect the court’s decision in this matter and wish nothing but the best for the minor child and his parents.” The verdict of $42 million was entered in Harrisburg, Penn., after a 6-day trial in 2016.
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Maria Gabriel-Gelin, 35, was admitted to a hospital to deliver her fourth baby by Cesarean section. During labor and delivery, the treating obstetrician noted that she had an atonic uterus and a hole in her small bowel, which needed to be surgically repaired. She also suffered from anemia.

She lost a substantial amount of blood during the delivery and was later transferred to the post-anesthesia unit of the hospital under the care of obstetrician Dr. Shobha Sikka.

That evening, nurses paged Dr. Sikka and reported that the patient was experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding. Dr. Sikka noted that despite medication, Gabriel-Gelin’s uterus was again atonic. An atonic uterus most often occurs because of over-distention or as the result of multiple pregnancies. An atonic uterus is a major cause of postpartum hemorrhaging. The word “atonic” means loss of muscular tone or strength to contract.
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John Lipsey filed a lawsuit on behalf of his minor daughter, J.L., for injuries suffered by her at birth. The United States federal district court judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants who were sued for medical negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

On June 8, 2009, a criminal complaint was filed against Wenona White in federal court alleging charges of federal bank fraud. White was pregnant at the time with her tenth child. Lipsey was the father. White was scheduled to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshal on July 6, 2009, but she failed to appear in court and was not located until Sept. 10, 2009 when she was taken into custody.

Because White was 35 weeks pregnant by the time she was apprehended, the U.S. Marshals Service faced the challenge of finding a detention facility that was able to meet White’s late-pregnancy healthcare needs. The Marshals Service arranged for White to be housed at the Jerome Combs Detention Center (JCDC), a Kankakee County, Ill., facility that has an intergovernmental agreement with the Marshals Service. The JCDC had a full-time medical staff and a relationship with an obstetrics practice to handle the obstetric needs of its prison population.
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