Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled a woman may be able to hold the hospital liable for injuries her child sustained during labor and delivery.

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 5th District reversed a trial judge’s decision that the patient should have known the doctor who delivered her twins was independent from the hospital.

The appeals panel wrote that there were still questions as to whether the physician and the hospital made it appear the doctor was an agent of the institution rather than a contractor.
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Baby Doe was born prematurely and spent the first 98 days of her life in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery. The day after the baby’s discharge, her mother noticed that she was irritable, grunting, and not eating.

Doe’s mother called the hospital that day and spoke to Nurse Roe, who told the mother that Doe was fine and that she should simply keep her pediatric appointment for the following day.

Four hours after that call, Doe’s parents found Baby Doe turning blue in her crib. She was rushed to a hospital where she later died. An autopsy revealed that Doe’s death resulted from a serious but treatable bacterial infection.
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Katie and Michael Smith were expecting their sixth child when an examination showed that there was an absence of a fetal heartbeat. Katie Smith later delivered the fetus at Maine General Medical Center.

Tissue samples from the chromosomal testing were taken in the presence of the parents and the couple stated unequivocally to an attending physician that they did not want other samples taken from the baby’s body or additional procedures performed.

Nevertheless, pathologist Carol Saunders later removed a tissue from the baby in the pathology lab, leaving a large, gaping hole in the left side of the body. The Smith family discovered this deformity caused by the pathologist when they went to a funeral home to view the baby’s remains.
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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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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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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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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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Karla Fountaine received prenatal care from a general practitioner, the defendant Dr. Cheryl Gill. At the time, she was 34 years old. During her pregnancy, she developed gestational diabetes.

When she began bleeding and suffering from increased blood pressure and headache, she was admitted to a hospital but shortly thereafter she was sent home. At 34 weeks gestation, she was readmitted to the hospital with continuing headaches and spiking blood pressure. She passed out in the hospital. An obstetrician delivered her baby.

Fountains suffered brain damage and subsequently died after the birth of her child. She was a former auto worker who had been retraining for another position. She was survived by her husband, an infant son and two other minor children.
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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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