Articles Posted in Brain Injury

After Mary Hunt was diagnosed as having possible preeclampsia, she was admitted to a hospital for induction of labor. Her treating physician ordered Pitocin and transferred her to an on-call obstetrician, Dr. Larry Clark.

Dr. Clark delivered Mary’s son vaginally using forceps. As a result of the difficult delivery combined with the forceful use of forceps, the baby suffered abrasions to his head, a cephalohematoma, and bleeding within the brain.

The child is now 3 years old and suffers from right-sided hemiplegia, developmental and speech delays as well as vision problems.
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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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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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Baby Doe, a twin, was born at 32 weeks gestation. Baby Doe was admitted to a hospital’s NICU where she remained in stable condition for several days.

Baby Doe developed a low-grade fever, tachycardia and irregular breathing. The next day, Baby Doe’s condition worsened. Her oxygen saturation dipped down to 78 percent, her glucose dramatically increased and her physical movement decreased.

A blood culture led to a diagnosis of bacterial infection, for which Baby Doe was given antibiotics. Within two weeks, Baby Doe was diagnosed as having a brain abscess and underwent surgery.
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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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In this lawsuit, the mother identified as Ms. Doe was admitted to a hospital to deliver her first child. Although the labor and delivery were prolonged, the treating obstetrician, Dr. Laura Fortner, advised Doe to keep pushing for another 30 minutes.

The obstetrician returned an hour later and used forceps and a vacuum extractor to deliver the baby who had become stuck in Doe’s birth canal. The baby’s Apgar scores were one at one minute and five at five minutes, requiring resuscitation.

The child, now age 16, has been diagnosed as having suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which affects his cognitive, social and fine motor skills.
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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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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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