Articles Posted in Obstetrician Negligence

Ms. Doe, 34, was admitted to a hospital experiencing signs and symptoms of placental abruption and preeclampsia. Although the fetal heart monitor allegedly revealed signs of fetal distress, no action was taken promptly to deliver her baby. Unfortunately, the baby died later in Ms. Doe’s womb. That night, Ms. Doe experienced hypertension and later developed HELLP Syndrome.

HELLP Syndrome is a serious complication of high blood pressure during pregnancy. The acronym HELLP stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. HELLP Syndrome usually develops before the 37th week of pregnancy but can occur shortly after delivery. Many women are diagnosed with preeclampsia beforehand. Symptoms include nausea, headache, belly pain and swelling.

In the case of Ms. Doe, the baby was subsequently delivered and the mother suffered a stroke. Ms. Doe now experiences balance, cognitive and physical issues and cannot return to her job where she earned approximately $32,000 per year.
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During delivery at a hospital, newborn Destiny Coleman suffered a brachial plexus injury.

The baby’s mother, individually and as her guardian, filed a lawsuit against the estate of Dr. Robert Lipari, the obstetrician who delivered her. He is now deceased. The lawsuit alleged obstetrics medical negligence.

The defense argued that the baby’s injuries resulted from maternal forces of labor, contractions, and maternal pushing, not mishandling the labor and delivery. The plaintiff maintained that that was the cause of the brachial plexus injury and was a result of the doctor’s negligence.
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Ms. Doe was pregnant with twins; they shared a placenta but had their own amniotic sacs. During her pregnancy, one of the twins, Twin B, had an abnormal velamentous cord insertion and exhibited persistent absent end-diastolic flow, which indicated underlying fetal vascular stress. Velamentous cord insertion is a complication of pregnancy in which the umbilical cord is inserted in the fetal membranes. In a normal pregnancy, the umbilical cord inserts into the middle of the placenta and is surrounded by the amniotic sac.

At 24 weeks, a Doppler ultrasound revealed reverse end-diastolic flow (REDF) in Twin B’s umbilical artery. Reversal of the umbilical artery end-diastolic flow or velocity can be an ominous sign when detected after 16 weeks of pregnancy. In extreme situations, such as severe intrauterine growth restriction, the arterial blood flow can reverse directions at the end of diastole. This is referred to as a reversed end-diastolic flow.

When this condition was recognized, Ms. Doe’s treating maternal-fetal medicine specialist did not hospitalize her but continued seeing her every week until 27 weeks gestation. Two weeks later, Twin B died.
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After Mary Hunt was diagnosed as having possible preeclampsia, she was admitted to a hospital for induction of labor. Her treating physician ordered Pitocin and transferred her to an on-call obstetrician, Dr. Larry Clark.

Dr. Clark delivered Mary’s son vaginally using forceps. As a result of the difficult delivery combined with the forceful use of forceps, the baby suffered abrasions to his head, a cephalohematoma, and bleeding within the brain.

The child is now 3 years old and suffers from right-sided hemiplegia, developmental and speech delays as well as vision problems.
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This Supreme Court case comes from an appeal twice to the appellate court and originally from the Circuit Court of Adams County, Ill. The issue was “whether the ruling of the appellate court, 2016 IL App (4th) 150843, reversing the judgment and remanding this case for a new trial requires a trial de novo on all claims.” The first appellate court decision answered this question in the affirmative. The Illinois Supreme Court granted motions by the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel to file an amicus curiae brief in support of defendant and the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association (ITLA) to file an amicus curiae brief in support of plaintiff’s position.

Because the resolution of the appeal concerned a narrow-certified question, the Illinois Supreme Court summarized the facts pertinent to making its decision.

In August 2015, plaintiffs Kristopher Crim and Teri Crim, acting on behalf of their biological son, Collin Crim, who was born on June 17, 2005, filed a fourth amended medical malpractice claim against the defendant, Gina Dietrich, D.O., alleging two claims: (1) Defendant failed to obtain Teri’s informed consent to perform a natural birth despite possible risks associated with Collin’s large size, and (2) defendant negligently delivered Collin, causing him injuries. The allegations supporting the informed consent claim are found in paragraph (a) through (j) of plaintiffs’ fourth amended complaint, while sub-paragraphs (k) and (l) concern the allegations related to professional negligence during the delivery of the child.
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Anna Scott was admitted to Jefferson Healthcare to deliver her first child. She was at first attached to a fetal heart monitor, which showed that her baby was healthy. She was then taken off the monitor for a six-hour period until her treating physician performed an artificial rupture of the membranes, after which Scott was then reattached to the fetal heart monitor.

The fetal heart monitor revealed that Scott’s baby had developed a worrisome heart rate pattern of repetitive variable decelerations with intermittent minimal variability.

Several hours later, Scott began to push. Her daughter, Lana, was born almost four hours later in a depressed condition with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her neck. Lana required 30 minutes of resuscitation. Lana’s Apgar scores were 3 at one minute and 4 at five minutes.
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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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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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