Abbott Laboratories Inc. appealed the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis’s judgment on the jury’s verdict in the total amount of $38 million to Maddison Schmidt for her personal injury lawsuit. Of that total amount, $15 million was for compensatory damages; $23 million was for punitive damages.

Abbott argued that the Circuit Court erred in overruling its pretrial motion to transfer venue from the City of St. Louis Circuit Court to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, which are two different courts. St. Louis City operates a separate court system as it is not a municipal entity that is part of the surrounding St. Louis County, which runs its own court system.

Schmidt was born with spina bifida and other birth defects. She resides in Minnesota. Her mother injected Depakote, an anti-epileptic drug, manufactured and marketed by Abbott Laboratories, while Schmidt was in utero. Her mother ingested the Depakote in Minnesota. Abbott’s company headquarters are located in suburban Chicago. Despite the lack of connection with Missouri, Schmidt joined with four Missouri plaintiffs and nineteen other non-Missouri plaintiffs to file a single action against Abbott Laboratories in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis.
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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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Vashti Daisley went to a hospital complaining of a lack of fetal movement during the late stages of her pregnancy. Dr. Donna Kasello, an obstetrician, performed a biophysical profile, which resulted in a score of two.

Dr. Kasello consulted a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Kimberly Heller, and the patient later underwent a repeat biophysical profile, which resulted in a score of eight. Dr. Kasello discharged Daisley after 30 additional minutes of fetal monitoring.

The next day, Daisley’s treating obstetrician performed an emergency biophysical profile. The results were not reassuring, leading to the delivery of Vashti Daisley’s son by Cesarean section.
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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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Kara Smalls was delivered by way of a Cesarean section surgery at Ouachita County Medical Center. Two hours after her birth, Kara’s bilirubin level was 5.5, which is an indication of high risk of hyperbilirubinemia.

Hyperbilirubinemia is a condition in a newborn in which there is too much bilirubin in the blood. When red blood cells break down, a substance known as bilirubin is formed. Babies are not easily able to rid themselves of bilirubin, and it can build up in the blood and other tissues of a baby’s body. The symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia are jaundice, which includes yellow tinged skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body. The baby can also run a fever or be fatigued. Other symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and paler than usual stools. Jaundice in a newborn is fairly common, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks gestation or preterm babies.Infant jaundice occurs most times because the baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to rid itself of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

In this case, over the next two days, nurses noted that Kara was mildly jaundiced. Nevertheless, the family physician, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, discharged the baby instructing her mother that everything was normal and that she should follow up with him in ten days.
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T’Miaya Smith’s son, J.H., began having seizures after his birth. A CT scan revealed ischemic injuries to his brain. Ischemic injuries result from the lack of blood flow to the brain causing brain damage. Smith, on behalf of her son, filed a lawsuit against Lauren Braswell, a midwife who provided care to Smith during her labor and delivery. The suit also named Atlanta Women’s Health Group, which was Braswell’s employer.

It was alleged that Braswell was negligent in the management of Smith’s labor and delivery. The defendants filed a motion to exclude the testimony of one of Smith’s expert witnesses. There was also a motion to exclude causation testimony from any of Smith’s expert witnesses and there was a motion for summary judgment. The trial judge granted the defendants’ motions. Smith appealed for the following reasons, but the appellate court affirmed.

Smith appealed to the Georgia Appellate Court to reverse the trial judge’s order excluding the testimony of the maternal-fetal medicine expert. The court stated, “The determination of whether a witness is qualified to render an opinion as an expert is a legal determination for the trial court and will not be disturbed absent a manifest abuse of discretion. The admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases provides:
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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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