Articles Posted in Obstetrician Negligence

In an effort designed to increase the chances of conception, Lacy Dodd underwent surgery to remove ovarian cysts and potentially one fallopian tube. During this surgery, her physician, Dr. Randall Hines, discovered that both of her ovaries appeared to be abnormal to the extent that they seemed to be cancerous.

Because of the seriousness of that diagnosis, Dr. Hines consulted, intraoperatively with his colleague, Dr. Paul Seago.

Dr. Seago concluded that both ovaries lacked any appreciable amount of normal tissue, which made them both highly suspicious for malignancy. Dr. Seago recommended that it was in Dodd’s best interest to remove both ovaries. Dr. Hines agreed and removed the ovaries.
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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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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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Baby Doe, 6 months, had an appointment with a physician at the Roe Family Physician office where the baby’s parents were concerned over asymmetrical folds in the baby’s right thigh and buttocks. The family practice physician misdiagnosed Baby Doe and said that all was well.

Six months later, another physician, a specialist, examined Baby Doe who had by then begun walking with a limp. The child was diagnosed as having a right hip dysplasia, which required hip surgery, including a femoral shortening.

The Doe family, on behalf of the child, sued Dr. Roe and her medical practice alleging that she chose not to diagnose a congenital hip problem. The defendants asserted that the baby’s problem was developmental, not congenital and was therefore not diagnosable at an earlier stage.
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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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In this confidential settlement, during the delivery of Baby Doe, a shoulder dystocia occurred. The attending physician, Dr. Roe, released the impacted shoulder and delivered Baby Doe, who suffered a right brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus injury required nerve graft surgery.

In spite of the surgery to correct the brachial plexus injury, Baby Doe now has a paralyzed right arm, shoulder and hand. Baby Doe’s mother suffered vaginal injuries as well during the delivery.

Baby Doe and her parents filed a lawsuit against the obstetrician, Dr. Roe, and the hospital that delivered Baby Doe, alleging that they chose not to properly handle the shoulder dystocia and safely delivery the baby. The Doe family claimed that Dr. Roe had encountered shoulder dystocia during the delivery of Baby Doe’s older sibling, but chose not to alert the Doe parents about this or the need for a Cesarean section delivery for future pregnancies.
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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 August 2015, the plaintiffs, Kristopher Crim and Teri Crim, acting on behalf of their biological son, Collin Crim, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant physician, Dr. Gina Dietrich, claiming that she chose not to comply with the standard of care applicable to an obstetrician. The Crims claimed that Dr. Dietrich’s negligent failure to obtain Teri’s informed consent prior to Collin’s natural birth resulted in a fracture to Collin’s right clavicle and nerve damage that extended down his right side to his shoulder, wrist, hand and fingers.

Following the presentation of the Crims’ case to the jury, Dr. Dietrich moved for a partially directed verdict on the issue of informed consent, which was granted by the trial judge. After additional evidence and argument, the jury returned a verdict in Dr. Dietrich’s favor and against the Crims on their remaining claim.

The Crims had sought expenses under Section 15 of the Rights of Married Persons Act (750 ILCS 65/15 (2014)). The court later imposed costs on the Crims as permitted by Section 5-109 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/5-109. The Crims appealed, arguing that the trial judge erred by (1) granting Dr. Dietrich a directed verdict on the issue of informed consent; and (2) barring certain medical testimony. As the appeals panel pointed out, because they agreed with the Crims’ first argument on the directed verdict on informed consent, the trial court’s decisions were reversed.
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A Wisconsin appellate court has ruled that a trial judge improperly excluded a defendant physician’s expert testimony. The expert wanted to testify about the maternal forces of labor being a cause of the plaintiff child’s brachial plexus injury.

In this case, Leah Bayer and her husband filed a lawsuit against her obstetrician, Dr. Brian Dobbins, claiming that he mishandled their infant’s shoulder dystocia, causing the baby girl to suffer a permanent brachial plexus injury.

The defendant doctor contended that the child’s injury came from maternal forces of labor. This is probably the most common and over-used defense in a birth trauma injury cases. The Bayer family then filed a motion in limine and requested that the judge exclude the defendant’s expert testimony related to the maternal forces of labor theory. The trial judge granted the motion.

However, the appellate court reversed. Whether expert testimony is admissible under the Daubert standard depends on whether an expert is qualified and uses a methodology that is scientifically reliable and whether the testimony will assist the trier of fact to determine a fact in issue.
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