Articles Posted in Labor and Delivery Negligence

Elien Lorenzo received prenatal care from Dr. Nelson Alvarez-Reyes, M.D., an obstetrician employed by the federally funded clinic. During her prenatal care, she received several ultrasounds at this clinic. One of the ultrasound reports estimated a delivery date based on her last menstrual period. The calculation of the delivery date was more than three weeks earlier than the baby’s gestational age based on the measurements taken during the ultrasound test. Later test reports also showed the discrepancy of the projected delivery date.

Despite this information, Dr. Alvarez-Reyes induced labor more than four weeks before Lorenzo’s baby had reached full gestational age.

Before the delivery, the baby was shown to be under fetal distress. The baby was later diagnosed as having suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The baby is now 4 years old and has developed mental delays, hearing loss and a seizure disorder.
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In this case, it was alleged by the mother of a baby, now 3 years old, that the child’s shoulder dystocia occurred during labor and delivery, which caused an unnecessary and avoidable injury to her child. According to the lawsuit brought on behalf of Baby Doe, the obstetrician allegedly applied traction to release the baby’s shoulders. As a result, however, Doe suffered a brachial plexus injury. Baby Doe has been diagnosed as having Erb’s Palsy, which has led to a disfigurement.

The Doe family sued the hospital maintaining that it was liable for the negligence of the obstetrician who mishandled the shoulder dystocia by applying excessive traction.

The defendant hospital reportedly argued that Baby Doe’s injuries were from maternal forces of labor rather than excessive traction. That is a common defense in shoulder dystocia cases. Before trial, the parties settled for $375,000.
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The mother, Doe, age 38, was 30 weeks into her pregnancy and considered in a high-risk pregnancy when she was admitted to the Roe Hospital due to preeclampsia. Several days later, during overnight hours, the fetal monitor showed severe late deceleration of her unborn baby, which continued for two hours. Despite orders for a STAT Caesarean section, the procedure was not performed until 90 minutes later.

Ms. Doe’s anesthesia wore off prematurely following the delivery. When the attending anesthesiologist attempted to intubate Doe, her abdomen filled with air. Doe subsequently coded and suffered profound brain damage. Ms. Doe lived in an institutional setting until she died almost six years later. She is survived by her husband and the baby who was delivered at that time and also suffered brain damage.

Ms. Doe’s sister, on behalf of her estate, her husband and her injured child, filed a lawsuit against the hospital and anesthesiologist claiming improper handling of fetal distress, late performance of the Cesarean section and negligent intubation.
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Wendy Castro developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. She underwent an induction of labor at a federally supported health care facility. The attending certified nurse midwife Barbara Carroll encountered shoulder dystocia during the delivery and allegedly responded by applying suprapubic pressure. A shoulder dystocia is an event during labor and delivery in which the newborn’s head is delivered but the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck on the mother’s public bone. In that case, the shoulders fail to deliver after the baby’s head.

Under these circumstances, Carroll then performed the McRoberts and Woods’ screw maneuvers, which are two of the usual maneuvers when this complication arises. “Dystocia” means a slow or difficult labor or birth.

Castro’s son suffered a left brachial plexus injury, a nerve injury caused by the stretching or contusions to the brachial plexus nerves as a result of the shoulder dystocia. He is now 4 years old. He has undergone surgery and has limited range of motion in his left arm because of the nerve damage. In some cases of shoulder dystocia the baby could suffer a birth asphyxia, lack of oxygen to the brain, which may cause permanent brain damage.
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The defendant, Edward Hospital, claimed that certain of its internal documents were confidential and that the Circuit Court of DuPage County, Ill., should not have ordered it to produce them during the discovery in a lawsuit for a medical malpractice and wrongful death. Edward Hospital insisted that the Medical Studies Act (735 ILCS 5/8-2101 et seq. (West 2014)) protects those documents from disclosure. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the trial judge was correct in that all documents at issue must be produced.

On Oct. 13, 2013, the plaintiff Abigail Kiersten Grosshuesch was admitted to Edward Hospital 30 weeks pregnant. Her baby, Isabella Kitsen Zormelo, was born the same day. Baby Isabella suffered from numerous medical issues, including necrotizing enterocolitis. Unfortunately, Baby Isabella died on Nov. 1, 2013.

In December 2013, Grosshuesch contacted Edward Hospital’s patient advocate and expressed concern about the care and treatment rendered to her and Isabella. Pursuant to Edward Hospital’s medical staff quality committee (MSQC) charter and its peer review policy (both enacted in 2008), the plaintiff’s concern in conjunction with Isabella’s death constituted “review indicators” resulting in a referral to the MSQC.
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Keyanna Vaughn, the mother of Marcus Crawford Jr., was first admitted to the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago for induction of labor on Aug. 11, 2009. This was done after test results were revealed during a prenatal visit.

On Aug. 12, 2009, a hospital intern and senior resident attempted vaginal delivery without success. Dr. Meredith Cruz was a maternal/fetal medicine fellow who took over at that time. Dr. Cruz had completed her OB/Gyn residency in June 2009 and had recently begun her maternal/fetal medicine program.

Dr. Cruz diagnosed that the fetus was experiencing shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is a specific situation arising in labor and delivery when the delivery of the baby’s head occurs, but the anterior shoulder of the baby cannot pass through the birth canal and requires the doctor’s or nurse midwife’s manipulation or maneuver to rotate the baby. In other words, a shoulder dystocia is diagnosed when the baby’s shoulders do not deliver right after the baby’s head is delivered. The baby gets stuck in the birth canal as a result, which can clearly be a very serious dilemma.
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During the delivery of the newborn in this case, the fetal monitor of the fetus indicated non-reassuring signs over the course of several hours, including heart rate abnormalities. In this summary of the case, the baby is Baby Doe. This was a confidential settlement in which the parties were identified as Doe, being the mother of the newborn, Baby Doe and Roe, being the physician, the obstetrician and hospital that were sued.

The mother of Baby Doe experienced uterine tachysystole. Uterine tachysystole is defined as six contractions in a ten-minute period.There have been many studies as to whether more than six contractions over a ten-minute period within the first four hours of labor induction is associated with adverse infant outcomes. However, six more contractions in ten minutes were significantly associated with fetal heart rate decelerations.

A nurse at the Roe hospital notified the treating obstetrician who allegedly reviewed the monitor strips but did not re-examine Baby Doe’s mother.Baby Doe was born in a depressed condition with Apgar scores of 3 at one minute and 6 at five minutes.
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Kimberly Williams went into labor at 20 weeks’ gestation. Full-term gestation is generally 39 weeks. She was admitted to Sinai Grace Hospital where she delivered a stillborn boy at the facility’s labor and delivery unit.

Later, Williams requested a repeat ultrasound. The treating obstetrician, Dr. Charlene Williams, declined to order the test and instead gave Cytotec to deliver the placenta.

The use of Cytotec is used to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pregnant women. Significantly, Cytotec may cause abortion, premature birth or birth defects if taken during a pregnancy.
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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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The birth injury to a newborn is perhaps the most heartbreaking injuries that human beings face. The birth of a newborn child is a remarkable event by itself. It comes with the promise of a long and healthy life. However, when an obstetrician, nurse midwife or labor and delivery nurse are negligent, this can cause a birth injury, brain damage or birth trauma. The results are devastating to the baby as well as to the parents and siblings.

In particular, the birth injury to a newborn child who has been injured permanently by the negligence of a labor and delivery team has long-term effects on the mother. In fact, too often mothers are injured during child birth; this may well play a role in their ability to bear more children.

The physical effects on a mother who gives birth to a newborn child coupled with a traumatic labor and delivery injury are easily recognized. The mother may suffer from uterine bleeding, bone fractures and bruising, a uterine rupture that may have been caused by an error in the Cesarean delivery, fissures, infection, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, uterine hyper-stimulation, vaginal tears or even the wrongful death of the mother. Maternal deaths are much more common than one would expect.
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