Articles Posted in Labor and Delivery Negligence

A premature Baby Doe, at 30 weeks’ gestation, was delivered at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. Shortly after her birth, Baby Doe was diagnosed as having a right-sided cephalohematoma, which was confirmed by a CT scan.

A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that occurs underneath the skin in the periosteum of an infant’s skull bone. Cephalohematoma does not pose any risk to the brain, but it causes unnecessary pooling of the blood from damaged blood vessels between the skull and the interlayers of the baby’s skin. In almost all cases, a cephalohematoma will go away within weeks or months. It usually appears as a bump on a baby’s skull.

The defendant neonatologist, Dr. John Chan, diagnosed Baby Doe as having a subgaleal hemorrhage and ordered that the baby’s head be wrapped with an ACE bandage as a pressure dressing.
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Grayson Charlton, a twin, was in the breech position at the time of her delivery at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. The treating obstetrician, Dr. Steven Troy, allegedly applied traction to deliver Grayson, resulting in a popping sound. After the delivery, Grayson was diagnosed as having suffered a spinal cord injury and avulsed nerve roots to her right arm.

Grayson is now 5 years old and is paralyzed from the chest down requiring her to be confined to a wheelchair. Grayson has undergone extensive physical and occupational therapy.
Grayson’s parents, individually and on Grayson’s behalf, sued Dr. Troy, the hospital and two health networks under an agency theory, claiming liability for Dr. Troy choosing not to prevent the baby’s head from becoming hyperextended during the delivery.

The Charlton family experts testified that Grayson’s injuries could have occurred only after application of excessive longitudinal traction.
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In this lawsuit, the mother identified as Ms. Doe was admitted to a hospital to deliver her first child. Although the labor and delivery were prolonged, the treating obstetrician, Dr. Laura Fortner, advised Doe to keep pushing for another 30 minutes.

The obstetrician returned an hour later and used forceps and a vacuum extractor to deliver the baby who had become stuck in Doe’s birth canal. The baby’s Apgar scores were one at one minute and five at five minutes, requiring resuscitation.

The child, now age 16, has been diagnosed as having suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which affects his cognitive, social and fine motor skills.
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In this confidential settlement, the case arose after Ms. Doe was admitted to a hospital in pre-term labor at 29 weeks gestation. During her 39-hour admission, she received medication to prevent a premature delivery. The hospital staff then discharged her. One day later, laboratory results revealed that she had an E-coli urinary tract infection and that she was positive for Group B strep.

Within a week, she went into labor and delivered her baby by Cesarean section. The baby has been diagnosed as having brain damage, resulting in cerebral palsy, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Doe sued the hospital and several treating healthcare providers alleging that they chose not to administer antibiotics before discharging her from the hospital based on her pre-term labor and preliminary lab results, which were available before her discharge.
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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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Maria Gabriel-Gelin, 35, was admitted to a hospital to deliver her fourth baby by Cesarean section. During labor and delivery, the treating obstetrician noted that she had an atonic uterus and a hole in her small bowel, which needed to be surgically repaired. She also suffered from anemia.

She lost a substantial amount of blood during the delivery and was later transferred to the post-anesthesia unit of the hospital under the care of obstetrician Dr. Shobha Sikka.

That evening, nurses paged Dr. Sikka and reported that the patient was experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding. Dr. Sikka noted that despite medication, Gabriel-Gelin’s uterus was again atonic. An atonic uterus most often occurs because of over-distention or as the result of multiple pregnancies. An atonic uterus is a major cause of postpartum hemorrhaging. The word “atonic” means loss of muscular tone or strength to contract.
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John Lipsey filed a lawsuit on behalf of his minor daughter, J.L., for injuries suffered by her at birth. The United States federal district court judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants who were sued for medical negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

On June 8, 2009, a criminal complaint was filed against Wenona White in federal court alleging charges of federal bank fraud. White was pregnant at the time with her tenth child. Lipsey was the father. White was scheduled to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshal on July 6, 2009, but she failed to appear in court and was not located until Sept. 10, 2009 when she was taken into custody.

Because White was 35 weeks pregnant by the time she was apprehended, the U.S. Marshals Service faced the challenge of finding a detention facility that was able to meet White’s late-pregnancy healthcare needs. The Marshals Service arranged for White to be housed at the Jerome Combs Detention Center (JCDC), a Kankakee County, Ill., facility that has an intergovernmental agreement with the Marshals Service. The JCDC had a full-time medical staff and a relationship with an obstetrics practice to handle the obstetric needs of its prison population.
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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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