Articles Posted in Labor and Delivery 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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During the delivery of Baby Doe, a shoulder dystocia was encountered. That is the medical condition in which a fetus in labor and delivery has a shoulder caught on the pelvis of the mother. An obstetrician in this case performed maneuvers to try to resolve the dystocia.

However, Doe suffered a severe brachial plexus injury that necessitated surgery to repair the nerve avulsion. Brachial plexus injury to the child is the result of the push and tug that often takes place in a should dystocia situation during delivery. The baby’s shoulder and arm nerves are stretched such that permanent damage often occurs to the child’s arm.

Unfortunately, the surgery in this case was unsuccessful. Doe now has partially lost the use of his right arm and hand.
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Kimberly Kirkwood-Boulter was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital to deliver her first baby. During labor and delivery, the nurse responsible for monitoring the baby’s heart rate had difficulty differentiating Kirkwood-Boulter’s heartbeat from her unborn baby’s. This occurred during the second stage of labor, which lasted about 6 hours.

In spite of all of this, Kirkwood-Boulter was encouraged to push, and the obstetrical team did not switch from intermittent fetal monitoring by way of a handheld device to continuous monitoring.
Kirkwood-Boulter’s baby boy was born severely acidotic and not breathing. The baby’s Apgar scores were one at one minute and three at five minutes, which are low scores for a newborn. Now the child is 6 years old and suffers from brain damage. He cannot walk, talk or feed himself.

Kirkwood-Boulter and her husband sued the hospital, members of its delivery team, and the employer of the attending nurse, Cross Country Staffing Inc. It was alleged in the lawsuit that these defendants chose not to provide continuous monitoring during the labor and delivery.
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During delivery of newborn Sophie Vergara at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, there were signs of fetal distress. Nonetheless, the Kaiser treating medical providers continued with a vacuum-assisted delivery.

As a result of this difficult delivery, Sophie Vergara suffered a brachial plexus injury and brain damage that necessitated resuscitation and treatment with seizure medication.

Sophie is now 6 years old and has been diagnosed as having spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, which requires 24-hour-per-day medical attention.
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Lilia Torres began spotting during the eighth week of her pregnancy. She was 34 years old at the time. She went to a hospital, where an ultrasound was completed, and later followed up with her treating obstetrician after receiving a diagnosis of placenta previa and possible placenta accreta – a condition in which the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine wall. For the rest of her pregnancy, she received medical care from several obstetricians and midwives.

At 39 weeks gestation, a cesarean section was scheduled and performed one day later by two obstetricians. After the delivery, she suffered a massive blood loss, necessitating a hysterectomy.

Torres, who lost at least 10 liters of blood, suffered cardiogenic and pulmonary shock. Shortly after, she died of complications of hemorrhagic shock and multiple-organ failure. She was survived by her husband and four minor children.
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Talanda Blevins, 38, was admitted to a hospital for an induction of labor. She was attended by obstetrician Dr. James Holzhauer. During her labor, her uterus ruptured, resulting in fetal distress.

Dr. Holzhauer performed a cesarean section, during which it was alleged that Dr. Holzhauer lacerated the patient’s bladder.

She suffered significant blood loss while in recovery, and this was reported to Dr. Holzhauer.
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Lindsey Setzer was 24 years old and fourteen weeks pregnant with her first child. She experienced right-sided flank pain, abdominal cramping and nausea. She went to a hospital emergency room, where a nurse took her vital signs, which showed that she had an elevated temperature and a high pulse rate of 144.

After an ultrasound, Setzer was diagnosed as having kidney stones and discharged. Early the following morning, she went to a different hospital; this time she was diagnosed as having sepsis and respiratory distress. She underwent placement of a ureteral stent and suffered a spontaneous abortion during the procedure.

She continues to suffer chronic fatigue and memory issues resulting from the sepsis and has been diagnosed as having post-sepsis syndrome.
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The use of fetoscopy was first developed in the 1990s. The process involves ultrasound-guided placement of a stethoscope – a small, fiber optic instrument – in the uterus to see the fetus and the placenta.

Fetoscopy as a surgical procedure can treat various fetal conditions including congenital diaphragmatic hernia and bladder outlet obstruction. Its most common use is the treatment of a rare condition, Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).

The condition of TTTS occurs when identical twins share a placenta with blood vessel connections that cause blood to flow unevenly between the two fetuses. According to the article, “Caught on Camera” by attorney Jeffrey B. Killino, one of the fetuses develops a small amniotic sac while the other sac becomes too large. Laser fetoscopy allows the laser to break up and collapse these blood vessel connections. Reportedly, if the condition is not treated, both of the fetuses can die. TTTS occurs in approximately 1 in 2,500 pregnancies. It is expected that there will be a rise in TTTS occurrences because of the increase in fertility-assisted pregnancies.
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Shunteria McIntyre, 20, received prenatal care from Dr. Orlando Muniz. Over a three-month period, she lost 26 pounds and complained of nausea and vomiting while visiting Dr. Muniz. She suffered additional weight loss later as well.

After eventually delivering a still-born baby, McIntyre died at her home. The cause was determined to be septicemia, acute diarrhea, and intrauterine fetal demise.

McIntyre’s personal representative brought a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Muniz among others. The trial court dismissed the case reasoning that McIntyre’s pre-suit medical expert was not qualified to provide expert opinion testimony under Florida law and that McIntyre also chose not to comply with the pre-suit discovery process for medical malpractice claims under Florida law.
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Zoila Fuentes Medina was admitted to the Brooklyn Hospital Center to deliver her baby. During her prenatal treatment at the hospital’s high-risk clinic, concerns were raised about possible macrosomia. Macrosomia is a condition in which a fetus has a predicted birth weight of more than 8 lbs. 13 oz. Suspected fetal macrosomia is not an indication for induction of labor. Induction in a macrosomia condition does not improve maternal or fetal outcomes.

A sonogram taken before her admission revealed that her baby was above the 90th percentile in size. First-year resident Dr. Patrick Ellis attended to the delivery under the supervision of on-call physician Dr. Yves Richard Jean-Gills.

Medina’s baby became caught on her pubic bone when delivery was attempted. Dr. Ellis applied extreme force to the baby’s head and neck. As a result, the baby suffered a brachial plexus injury that resulted in permanent Erb’s palsy.
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