Articles Posted in Brain Injury

The United States will pay $5 million in a settlement to resolve a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that physicians at a Florida naval hospital chose not to order a cesarean section despite signs and symptoms of fetal distress. As it turned out, the fetal distress caused the baby’s permanent brain damage.

Jenifer and Sean Mochocki, a U.S. Air Force officer, reached a settlement with the federal government in this Federal Tort Claims Act case and asked the federal district court judge to approve the settlement and the medical malpractice lawsuit. The suit alleged that three Naval Hospital Jacksonville physicians chose not to order a cesarean section procedure in the face of adverse fetal heart tracing, which resulted in the Mochocki baby’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is a permanent brain injury related to oxygen deprivation.

The settlement is partially structured in that the Mochocki family will receive $1,590,000 and approximately $3 million will be used to purchase an annuity that will allow for monthly payments of approximately $7,600 for the baby’s life. An additional payment of $4,500 will be made per month when the child reaches the age of 18 until the end of life.
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Rebecca Kerrins, the mother of now 5-year-old Drew Kerrins, sued Palos Community Hospital, Dr. Thomas Myers and Renaissance Medical Group alleging that Dr. Myers chose not to make himself available to take care of Drew’s emergency soon after the baby was delivered.

After a bench trial, a Cook County judge entered a judgment for more than $23 million to the family of Drew Kerrins because of the delay in providing a blood transfusion, which led to the child’s development of cerebral palsy and other cognitive injuries.

Rebecca Kerrins was admitted to Palos Community Hospital to deliver her baby in June 2011. Unfortunately, her placenta separated from her uterine wall at the time of delivery, which caused the baby to lose as much as half of her blood by the time she was delivered.
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Baby Doe, two months old, underwent an MRI after being taken to a hospital by ambulance. The attending anesthesiologist, Dr. Roe, ordered Propofol to prevent Baby Doe from moving excessively during the test.

While undergoing the MRI, Baby Doe’s oxygen saturation level dropped below 90. The baby suffered respiratory arrest resulting in cardiac arrest. Baby Doe experienced hypoxic-ischemic brain damage. Baby Doe — now 9 years old — is unable to take care of himself or speak.

Following this tragic brain injury, the Doe family sued Dr. Roe and his practice alleging that the anesthesiologist chose not to properly monitor Baby Doe during the MRI. The lawsuit also claimed that an attending technician failed to notify Dr. Roe when he noticed Baby Doe’s decreased oxygen saturation. The court had dismissed the radiology technician as a party defendant on that defendant’s motion. The Doe family is appealing that ruling. Continue reading

A federal district court judge in Harrisburg, Penn., has entered a judgment for $42 million to the parents of a Pennsylvania boy left disabled because of brain injuries. In the federal lawsuit, it was alleged that the brain injury was caused by a doctor who used forceps during the delivery process of the child.

The judgment came after a six-day trial in September on claims by a Chambersburg, Penn., couple, Christiana Late and Nathan Armolt. Their 5-year-old son, identified only as D.A. in court documents, understands language but cannot speak, read or write.  He will eventually have to use a motorized wheelchair in order to move about.

The family sued the federal government for errors allegedly made by an obstetrician for Keystone Women’s Health Center, a federally supported facility. Dr. Thomas Orndorf, who was not sued, delivered the child Feb. 21, 2012, at Chambersburg Hospital. Under the law, when a federally financed clinic has been alleged to be negligent causing injury to a patient, the remedy is a claim against the United States under the Federal Torts Claim Act.
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Vonshelle Brothers received her prenatal care, including a Pap smear, at the Brevard County Health Department. A cytopathologist allegedly interpreted the Pap smear as having cellular changes consistent with the herpes simplex virus. However, a health department nurse reported that the test was normal. Her obstetrician did not look at the actual Pap smear and Brothers was not notified of the cytopathologist’s findings.

About seven months later, Brothers delivered her baby vaginally. Two weeks later the child was diagnosed with herpetic meningoencephalitis, which led to profound brain damage. This child is now 6 years old. She has developmental delays, speech and vision problems and difficulty walking.

Brothers filed a lawsuit against the health department alleging that its employees chose not to diagnose the herpes simplex virus and prevent Brothers from transmitting the virus to her unborn child by performing a Cesarean section. There were other allegations of preventative medical attention that could have prevented and avoided the predictable outcome. Before trial, the parties settled the case for $3.2 million.
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In this medical malpractice case, an appeal was taken by the plaintiff after a jury verdict was entered in favor of the defendant, Mercy Hospitals East, claiming that the trial court abused its discretion. The claim was made that the court chose not to strike for cause a venireperson after she expressed during voir dire a disqualifying bias in favor of Mercy. She stated that she would “start off slightly in favor” of Mercy in this case because her sister was a registered nurse at another Mercy facility.

Since this venireperson served on the jury in this case, the appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial because the appeals panel found that the venireperson’s stated bias disqualified her from jury service on this case and she was not subsequently rehabilitated.

The original lawsuit stemmed from allegations that the hospital providers were negligent in connection with the Cesarean-section delivery of Thaddeus Thomas, resulting in brain damage to the newborn. The case proceeded to trial on March 16, 2015 and a jury returned a verdict for Mercy Hospital on March 26, 2015. The only issue on appeal was asserted that the trial court committed reversible error when it denied the plaintiffs’ motion to strike the venireperson for cause, who was later seated as a juror and took part in the verdict in this case.
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In a significant birth trauma injury case, the mother was given Pitocin while in delivery at the hospital. Labor was more than 14 hours. It was managed by two resident physicians and an attending physician. There were signs of uterine hyperstimulation, which was alleged to have occurred hours before the delivery and followed by hours of obvious fetal distress.

According to the report on this case, a nurse told one of the residents that the fetal monitoring signs indicated fetal distress.  However, even with this information, the physician allegedly concluded there was no fetal distress and instead increased the dose of Pitocin. The nurse reported the fetal monitoring signs of distress to her supervisor who then contacted a more senior resident and the attending physician who then stopped the administration of Pitocin.

The baby was later delivered with the assistance of forceps. At the baby’s delivery, the APGAR scores of 3 at 1 minute and 5 at 5 minutes were charted. The baby, who’s now nearing 7 years old, had suffered a brain injury from inadequate oxygen.

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Daniel Cantu was 3 months old when he was brought to Walker Baptist Medical Center’s emergency room suffering from fever, crying, fussiness, tachycardia, diarrhea and other symptoms. He underwent a physical examination, a chest x-ray and a flu test, which were all reported to be negative. Daniel was diagnosed as having an upper respiratory infection and was discharged.

That same night, Daniel’s condition worsened. He was returned to the hospital the next day and was noted to have additional symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration and a sunken fontanelle as well as weight loss. Testing at the hospital revealed many abnormalities, including impaired liver function and white blood cell levels.

Pediatrician Dr. James Wilbanks examined Daniel the following day and ordered flu tests, IV fluids and Tylenol on an as-needed basis. Two days later, Daniel was discharged again. He was then brought to another pediatrician who ordered an immediate lumbar puncture. The lumbar puncture showed that Daniel was likely suffering from bacterial meningitis, a diagnosis that was later confirmed. Daniel was hospitalized for about one month and now, at the age of 6, suffers from a seizure disorder, blindness, deafness and other problems.

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Baby Doe was less than two months old when she contracted respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which caused her to stop breathing during the night. Her foster mother, Betty Cook, called the doctor’s office 4 hours later and was told to go to an emergency room. Instead, she took the baby to a clinic where she was seen by a family physician, Dr. Anne Hamilton.

During the appointment, Baby Doe stopped breathing necessitating resuscitation by Dr. Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton told Cook to drive the child to a hospital five minutes away. At the hospital,the baby was diagnosed as having suffered a hypoxic brain injury. Baby Doe is now 5 years old. She suffers from cortical blindness and is unable to walk, stand, sit, and feed herself or talk.

The Doe family filed a lawsuit against Betty Cook, the foster parent and Dr. Hamilton and the insurance fund for foster parents alleging that (1) Hamilton choose not to summon emergency care or accompany Baby Doe to the hospital; and (2) Cook choose not to timely go the hospital after she was told to do so by the doctor.

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This was a birth injury case in which the jurors were asked to award up to $7.5 million for a life care plan for the baby girl, Jill Todd, as well as $1.4 million in lost wages and an unspecified amount of damages for pain and suffering. The issue in this case was whether the University of Iowa’s Health Center physicians and staff provided proper care to Jill Todd in November 2010.  After two days of deliberation, the jury returned a 9-1 verdict finding that the University of Iowa Health Center was negligent but that negligence wasn’t “a cause of damage” to the child. This was an odd verdict or at least one that most would consider inconsistent.

Investigators confirmed that they were looking into an unusual claim of jury tampering in this medical malpractice, birth injury case involving the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. As a result of the jury’s unusual verdict, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics paid nothing for the injured child.

After a 3-week trial, the jury found that the hospital was negligent in caring for a mother who suffered complications before giving birth in 2010. But the jurors found that negligence was not a cause of damage to the child. The baby suffered brain damage and is severely disabled. The jury awarded no compensation to the family.

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