Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Kara Smalls was delivered by way of a Cesarean section surgery at Ouachita County Medical Center. Two hours after her birth, Kara’s bilirubin level was 5.5, which is an indication of high risk of hyperbilirubinemia.

Hyperbilirubinemia is a condition in a newborn in which there is too much bilirubin in the blood. When red blood cells break down, a substance known as bilirubin is formed. Babies are not easily able to rid themselves of bilirubin, and it can build up in the blood and other tissues of a baby’s body. The symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia are jaundice, which includes yellow tinged skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body. The baby can also run a fever or be fatigued. Other symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and paler than usual stools. Jaundice in a newborn is fairly common, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks gestation or preterm babies.Infant jaundice occurs most times because the baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to rid itself of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

In this case, over the next two days, nurses noted that Kara was mildly jaundiced. Nevertheless, the family physician, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, discharged the baby instructing her mother that everything was normal and that she should follow up with him in ten days.
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T’Miaya Smith’s son, J.H., began having seizures after his birth. A CT scan revealed ischemic injuries to his brain. Ischemic injuries result from the lack of blood flow to the brain causing brain damage. Smith, on behalf of her son, filed a lawsuit against Lauren Braswell, a midwife who provided care to Smith during her labor and delivery. The suit also named Atlanta Women’s Health Group, which was Braswell’s employer.

It was alleged that Braswell was negligent in the management of Smith’s labor and delivery. The defendants filed a motion to exclude the testimony of one of Smith’s expert witnesses. There was also a motion to exclude causation testimony from any of Smith’s expert witnesses and there was a motion for summary judgment. The trial judge granted the defendants’ motions. Smith appealed for the following reasons, but the appellate court affirmed.

Smith appealed to the Georgia Appellate Court to reverse the trial judge’s order excluding the testimony of the maternal-fetal medicine expert. The court stated, “The determination of whether a witness is qualified to render an opinion as an expert is a legal determination for the trial court and will not be disturbed absent a manifest abuse of discretion. The admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases provides:
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An appeal from the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., ended up in the Missouri Supreme Court on the issue of a disqualifying motion of a juror who was alleged to have been biased. This was a medical malpractice lawsuit against Mercy Hospitals.

On March 13, 2013, the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Thomas, a minor, by his next friend and mother, Marlin Thomas, filed a medical negligence lawsuit in connection with the Cesarean section delivery. In the lawsuit, it was claimed that Baby Thaddeus suffered brain damage as a result of the negligence of the hospital’s medical providers before and during the labor and delivery.

During voir dire, jury selection, the Thomas attorney informed the venire panel, “[T]his case involves Mercy Clinics Physicians as the defendant and Mercy Clinic Hospital. Just knowing that they are defendants in this case, is there anyone that feels they might start off the case a little bit more in favor of one party or the other?”
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Marla Dixon was admitted to a hospital in labor. Her obstetrician was Dr. Ata Atogho, a U.S. government employee. Dr. Atogho attended the delivery.

After the heartrate monitor of the fetus showed decelerations and poor variability, a nurse discontinued Pitocin and called Dr. Atogho who arrived sixteen minutes later. Dr. Atogho restarted the Pitocin. Dixon labored for another hour and a half.

Dr. Atogho then used a vacuum extractor to deliver Dixon’s baby son, who was born in a depressed condition with Apgar scores of one at one minute and four at five minutes.
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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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