Baby’s Brain Damage Malpractice Settlement Is $5 Million
Nurse and midwife named defendants in lawsuit claiming failure to expedite delivery resulting in catastrophic brain damage
Medical Malpractice Lawyer’s 2014 Trial Report
The minor plaintiff was delivered on June 17, 2004 with catastrophic brain damage from a lack of oxygen during the labor process. The pregnancy was uncomplicated. At 40 weeks gestation, her mother presented to the hospital with contractions. She was evaluated by the defendants and admitted. The fetal monitor strips were felt to be reassuring.
At 10:40 a.m., membranes were ruptured and a small amount of meconium was noted but the FHR was felt to be generally reassuring. At approximately 12:56 p.m. the nurse and Midwife noted a pattern of decelerations had developed. They were described as non-repetitive and assessed that the FHR was reactive. Plaintiff’s expert disagreed with this interpretation stating that by 1:00 p.m. the fetal heart monitor showed a persistent, non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern, namely in the form of late decelerations. Late decelerations are an indicator of fetal hypoxia and require testing to ensure fetal well-being or immediate delivery via cesarean section. At 1:30 p.m., the defendants were present in the room and noted that the FHR revealed decelerations down to the 90’s with pushing yet no physician was called. Another midwife had arrived in the room to assist with the anticipated delivery of the patient. A second midwife was required at the delivery of any patient of the first midwife as she had only just begun to perform deliveries. She was required to have another midwife in attendance at her first 20 deliveries and unfortunately the plaintiff was one of her first. At 1:35 p.m., oxygen was applied to the mother, position changes were made, and an IV fluid bolus was infusing. These maneuvers are forms of intrauterine resuscitation and show a recognized need to help the baby in utero but no physician was called to assess the situation.
At 2:10 p.m., the defendants recognized that the FHR was showing late decelerations despite the intrauterine resuscitation. A Code White was called twice while decelerations to the 80s continued. At 2:25 p.m., the attending physician was in the room using a vacuum to try and accomplish delivery. After delivery attempts failed the obstetrician took the plaintiff to the OR for emergent cesarean section. Her Apgar Scores were 2, 3, and 3 with a cord pH of 6.66 indicating severe metabolic acidosis. She developed seizures within the first few minutes of life. Imaging studies revealed evidence of global hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The child is now 8 years old and has required the use of a G-tube, she cannot walk, talk or sit unsupported. She is cortically blind and remains on anti-seizure medication. She relies upon her family and care givers for all aspects of daily living.
The case was in the midst of discovery when it was settled for $5,000,000.
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