Birth Injury Settlement is $4M
2014 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Baby’s brain injury at birth leads to cerebral palsy diagnosis related to care received at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The plaintiff is a 7-year-old girl who suffers global motor and cognitive delays. As a result of her brain injury from birth, she requires permanent tube feeds.
In August 2006, the plaintiff’s mother was admitted to Newton Wellesley Hospital (NWH) for high blood pressure and preterm labor. She was 30 weeks pregnant with twins. After a 5-day admission, she was transferred to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) because her labor was progressing.
On admission to BWH, both babies had normal heart rates. Shortly after admission, the mother spiked a temperature to 102.3 and the babies’ heart rates became tachycardic, ranging between 170-200 bpm. The babies’ heart rates remained elevated for the next 3 hours. The defendant nurse notified the defendant OB/GYN resident and the defendant attending OB/GYN. After an examination, they determined that the mother had a kidney infection. The defendants planned to start antibiotics immediately, but they were not given for over an hour and a half.
Later that afternoon, the babies’ heart rates started to show decelerations. The nurse called the resident, but the resident did not evaluate the patient. Fifteen minutes after the first call, the nurse called the resident regarding an abnormal lab value, concerning for bleeding. Yet again, the resident did not evaluate the patient. Shortly thereafter, the patient started to shake and tremble. She then began to visibly bleed, an indication of a placental abruption. The defendant doctors were notified and delivered the twins by emergency cesarean section within 10 minutes. At delivery, the plaintiff was blue, limp, and did not have a heartbeat.
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The plaintiff was admitted to the BWH neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 10 days, then transferred to the NWH NICU. At both hospitals, the plaintiff was noted to be doing well with normal neurological exams. At 23 days of life, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a blood infection. The infection was treated, but returned weeks later. At 4 months of age, the plaintiff was diagnosed with meningitis. At 8 months old, the plaintiff had an MRI that showed periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), a brain injury associated with prematurity. At 10 months of age, the plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
At trial, the defense claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by prematurity and the multiple infections that the plaintiff had after delivery.
After 11 days of trial, the case was settled for $4,000,000.00 before closing arguments.
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