NH Birth Injury Lawsuit Settles for $3.75 Million
Inappropriate management of labor and delivery results in permanent brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy
2016 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
The minor plaintiff is currently a 2-year-old girl who suffers from hypoxic ischemic injury (HIE) resulting from the defendants’ negligence. As a direct result of her brain injury, the minor plaintiff has seizures, muscle weakness, and developmental delays. She receives occupational, speech and physical therapy. The minor plaintiff has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
In January 2014, the minor plaintiff’s mother was a 28-year-old expecting the birth of her first child. She had an uncomplicated pregnancy.
On the day of delivery, at full term, the minor plaintiff’s mother presented to the hospital with complaints of labor and ruptured membranes.
According to the deposition testimony of the defendant, the minor plaintiff was a healthy baby upon arrival to the hospital.
The minor plaintiff’s mother was placed on the fetal monitor. During the course of the morning, the monitor showed a normal fetal heart rate.
By early afternoon, intermittent pushing was documented due to maternal exhaustion. Changes in the baby’s heart rate were also noted by the labor nurse. At this point, progression of labor and delivery had stalled. The defendant OB/GYN recommended forceps rotation of the baby’s head. The defendant doctor applied the forceps to the child’s head twice. Both times forceps rotation failed.
After applying the forceps, the doctor noted that the umbilical cord was present in the vagina. This is known as a prolapsed umbilical cord. The defendant doctor then pushed the umbilical cord back into the uterine cavity.
After the doctor pushed the cord back into the uterine cavity, the baby’s heart rate disappeared. The baby’s heart rate remained either extremely low or absent for the next 20 minutes, causing brain damage from lack of oxygen.
The patient was then taken to the operating room (OR) and the baby was born via cesarean section due to failed forceps, fetal bradycardia, and a prolapsed umbilical cord. At delivery, the baby was blue, limp, and not breathing.
At birth, the baby developed seizure activity. An MRI showed profound hypoxic ischemic insult. Since birth, the minor plaintiff has been under the care of neurology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
The defense was prepared to argue that the defendants did not cause the baby’s brain injury. Rather, the defense claimed that the baby’s brain injury occurred at least a day or two before her mother presented to the hospital.
At mediation, the parties settled the case for $3,750,000.00.
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