Birth Injury – Hospital Negligence – Brain Damage –
Baby’s Brain Damage Caused by Nurse’s Failure to Notify Doc
|Jane Doe, Jane Doe II, John Doe
v. Unnamed Hospital
Facts & Allegations- On March 18, 2003, at about 4 p.m., plaintiff mother, 40, was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for induction of labor. She was 40 weeks and one day pregnant.
At 10 p.m., fetal monitor strips showed that the plaintiff baby was probably suffering from hypoxia. At 10:30 p.m., mother’s uterus was observed to have a hyper-stimulation pattern, frequent or increased uterine contractions which were keeping the fetus from being able to breathe between contractions. At 11:45 p.m., the nurses notified the attending physician of the pattern, but did not inform her of the possible hypoxia. Over the phone, the physician ordered Terbutaline for the hyper-stimulation, but it had no effect, and the nurses did not inform the physician that the Terbutaline was not working. Terburaline should be effective within minutes. If not, that is a sign of a more serious problem, such as placental abruption causing the hyper-stimulation.
The following day at 12:30 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to show possible hypoxia, but the nurses did not contact the attending physician. From 1 to 2:30 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to show low or absent heart rate, while the hyper-stimulation pattern continued. The nurses did not contact the physician.
At 2:30 a.m. the plaintiff mother went into contractions due to hyper-stimulation. No doctor was present, and the plaintiff father ran through the hospital to find an obstetrician who was actually a resident in training. The resident examined the plaintiff mother and reviewed the fetal heart tracing. He then ordered the nurse to notify the attending physician, but the nurse did not contact the physician.
From 2:30 to 3:15 a.m., the fetal heart tracing continued to be abnormal. Again, the nurses did nothing. At 3:15 a.m., the plaintiff baby was delivered by a nurse with no physician in attendance. The attending physician, who was not notified beforehand, showed up after the delivery. When the attending physician arrived, she became extremely angry with the nurses and told them she should have been notified by at least midnight and that this tragedy could have been avoided.
Claiming physical injuries, the plaintiffs sued the hospital for medical malpractice.
We claimed that the nurses failed to notify the attending physician and neonatologist about the impending delivery and the complications before the delivery.
We claimed that the nurses failed to understand and appreciate the fetal heart tracing, that the nurses failed to notify a physician about the mother’s hyper-stimulation pattern and the fetal heart problems during labor, and that the nurses failed to do any intervention during the labor, even though it was obviously warranted. These failures, we claimed, led to the baby’s birth injuries.
The hospital disputed the allegations, contending that the baby suffered an unforeseeable embolitic event right before labor which caused his injuries.
Injuries/Damages: cerebral palsy; cognitive defects; emotional distress; encephalopathy; hypoxia; microcephaly
The baby was born flaccid and without muscle tone. He made no attempts to breathe and demonstrated no reflexes. The neonatologist, who was called five minutes after delivery, arrived shortly thereafter and immediately intubated the baby.
The baby was diagnosed with hypoxia, severe anoxic encephalopathy, developmental delay secondary to spastic cerebral palsy, severe language and cognitive impairment, behavioral dysfunction and microcephaly.
Result: The case settled for $3,750,000.00.
The baby’s settlement was structured with a total expected payout of $21,446, 412.00.