Lawsuit in SF Bay Area for things women have sued hospitals
Baby Suffers Birth Injuries After Nurse’s Failure To Monitor
A California couple has accepted a $9.25 million settlement on behalf of their baby, who suffered hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy following a problem-filled labor.
The family faulted the nurses for failing to monitor the baby despite a doctor’s order, among other claims.
The 28-year-old mother was seeing a nurse-midwife, who had reported no problems with the pregnancy. When she was 32 weeks pregnant, she called her midwife
to report a problem. The midwife directed the mother to go to the nearest hospital, where an obstetrician arranged for her to be transferred to a hospital with a
neonatal intensive care unit and perinatologists on staff. Perinatologists are doctors who focus on babies in high-risk pregnancies.
Nurse Did Not Monitor As Ordered
After the mother was on bed rest for several days, the baby began to show an abnormally high heart rate, and a perinatologist diagnosed chorioamnionitis, an
infection of membranes surrounding the fetus commonly associated with prolonged labor. He ordered a C-section and continuous monitoring of the baby and
canceled the mother’s bathroom privileges.
Another nurse came to take over care. She said she was unaware that the doctor had ordered continuous monitoring
of the baby or that bathroom privileges had been canceled. She allowed the mother to use the restroom. Later, after the C-section had been postponed due to
another emergency delivery, nurses were unable to find the baby’s heart rate because of the way the baby was positioned. A doctor finally confirmed that the
baby’s heart rate was only in the 40s and ordered an emergency C-section. The baby was delivered 11 minutes later and was not responsive.
Baby Has Hydrocephalus And Cerebral Palsy
The baby then underwent brain cooling. When he was three months old, doctors placed a shunt in his brain for hydrocephalus, a condition often called water on
the brain. The fluid is cerebrospinal fluid, a clear liquid that is produced in the brain cavities. The brain cavities are connected by ventricles. With most types of
hydrocephalus, fluid gets trapped in the ventricles, which causes them to expand. Pressure is placed on the brain, and neurological problems can result.
The child has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and needs assistance with all daily living activities. He receives nourishment by a gastric feeding tube.
His parents have cared for him at home since he was released from the hospital.
The family originally sought between $8.2 and $12.4 million for future medical
costs over the expected life of their child, as well as damages for future lost earnings. As with many personal injury lawsuits, the amount of damages was disputed.
The defendants in the suit claimed that damages were lower, saying the child had a life expectancy of less than 10 years. They also argued that because the boy’s
parents had given him good care without being licensed, the level of care provided by certified nurse’s aides, rather than more highly trained workers, would be
The $9.5 million settlement was reached during mediation.
Midwives Have Licenses Revoked, Are Sued For Malpractice At Birth Center
The licenses of two midwives were revoked after three babies died at the birth center they owned. In a separate matter, the parents of a child who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after suffering from a lack of oxygen at birth have settled a lawsuit with the same midwives. Birth centers are health care facilities in California and other states that allow women with low-risk pregnancies to give birth outside a hospital setting, usually under the care of midwives. Women who use birth centers may be transferred to a hospital if problems arise. The lawsuit stems from a June 2008 delivery at the birth center, before the three deaths occurred.
$5 Million Settlement For Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
According to a civil complaint filed by the parents in this case, the couple’s new daughter was limp and blue when the mother delivered. A midwife called an ambulance about 19 minutes later, and the mom and baby arrived at a hospital 53 minutes after her birth. The baby did not have oxygen at birth, according to the complaint, and was diagnosed at the hospital with hypoxic ischemic brain injuries. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, developmental delays and other conditions. The parents’ lawsuit over their daughter’s cerebral palsy and other disorders settled for $5 million. CP is a group of disorders that can result from hypoxic ischemic brain injuries and other causes. CP can affect muscle control and tone, head control, sensation, coordination, and cognitive abilities. The disorders happen as the result of damage to the areas of the brain that control those functions. Children with CP may need a lifetime of costly special care.
Three Babies Later Died
While the parents’ birth injury complaint was pending, three babies died at the birth center, prompting an investigation by the state licensing agency for the midwives. In some of the deaths, investigators found, the midwives delayed calling for transfers or failed to cooperate with paramedics.
In the first death, a student working under one of the midwives improperly cut an infant’s umbilical cord. Regulators found that the midwives made the incident worse by not providing emergency responders with an adequate explanation of what happened.
In the second death, a midwife prevented paramedics who had been called to the birthing center from entering a patient’s room for four minutes. The licensing board in her state found that she did not fully cooperate with paramedics and did not initially say why the patient needed to be taken to the hospital.
In the third death, a baby was born limp, unresponsive and pale, with a heart rate of just 80, and had meconium staining around the mouth, which can be a sign of fetal distress. The midwife waited 11 minutes before calling paramedics.
The licensing board suspended their licenses and later revoked them. Investigators said allowing the midwives to continue practicing would be dangerous to public health and safety. It’s unclear whether the families of the three babies have pursued wrongful death or birth injury lawsuits. Injuries and deaths like these are unacceptable. Yet they happen, both in the state where these midwives practiced and in California. If your baby has been harmed by a negligent doctor, midwife or other medical professional, an experienced birth injury attorney can evaluate your case.
Kaiser Permanente Birth Injury Information and Cases
BIRTH INJURY CASES & RESULTS
Failure to Perform Timely Cesarian Section – Cerebral Palsy
In a case involving cerebral palsy, our attorneys obtained a binding arbitration award following a two week arbitration, having a present cash value of $4,100,000 on behalf of a 3-year-old boy afflicted with multiple neurological injuries as a result of negligent delivery at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Redwood City. Attorneys from Walkup, Melodia were able to prove that the infant endured a period of oxygen deprivation during his birth when his mother’s uterus ruptured. The uterine rupture was due to an attending midwife’s failure to properly manage the mother while in labor. Walkup attorneys also proved that obstetrical nurses left the mother unattended prior to the rupture of her uterus, and for that reason failed to appreciate ominous signs of the baby’s distress as reported on a fetal heart monitor. Prior to the first day of arbitration, Kaiser had made no settlement offer.
Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress – Quadriplegia/Brain Damage.
Walkup attorneys negotiated a cash and annuity settlement with a present cash value in excess of five million dollars on behalf of an infant born with severe developmental delay, spastic quadriparesis, and permanent neurological injuries after Kaiser San Francisco doctors and nursing staff failed to monitor the mother and deliver the baby quickly when fetal heart monitors indicated severe distress. The 36-year-old mother’s pregnancy and delivery seemed to be progressing normally when, 8 hours after being admitted to the hospital, she developed a high fever. The doctor on call administered antibiotics for suspected chorioamnionitis, (an inflammation of the amniotic membranes), and said he would check back in an hour. Nearly three hours later, the fetal heart rate monitors indicated that the baby’s heart rate had dropped to 85 and 90, and remained there for about 10 minutes, prompting a frightened nurse to contact the doctor.
Deceleration of the fetal heart rate is a common effect of chorioamnionitis. The infant was born a half hour later, by emergent vacuum extraction, with no heart rate, and appearing blue, floppy, and apneic. She was resuscitated through chest compressions and intubation. In the days following her birth, the infant exhibited general seizures with tremors in the lower and upper extremities. An MRI performed 8 days after her birth revealed that the infant had severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The child will remain fully dependant for all of her care needs for her entire life. She is not expected to develop beyond the level of a one month old infant. Liability was based upon failure to aggressively monitor the mother and fetus post administration of antibiotics and failure to deliver the baby when infection was first suspected.
Delayed Admittance to Hospital – Cerebral Palsy
The Walkup team obtained a mediated settlement, one day before the commencement of arbitration, on behalf of a child who suffered profound injuries when her mother’s uterus ruptured at the site of a previous myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid in the uterine wall).
Two weeks prior to the baby’s emergent delivery, the child’s mother was hospitalized in pre-term labor at Kaiser San Francisco. After being medicated and released, she was advised to observe strict bed rest and communicate with Kaiser’s Pre-Term Birth Prevention Project. At 10:00 p.m. the evening before delivery, the parents called the maternity department to report painful contractions. Without determining the onset, frequency, characteristics or location of the pain suffered by the mother, an on-duty advice nurse advised the mother to take an additional dose of her anti-contraction medication and call if her condition worsened. Eight hours later, the mother awoke in severe pain. Her husband called 911. She was taken to a local hospital where the child was delivered by emergency C-section at 32 weeks gestation.
Claimants contended that Kaiser’s employees were negligent in failing to order the mother to the hospital at the time of the phone call. The child was diagnosed with periventricular leukomalacia, and later developed infantile spasms and cerebral palsy. The settlement was composed of both an initial cash payment and guaranteed future annuity payments to offset the cost of future medical, therapy, laboratory and attendant care.
Failure to Recognize Neonatal Hypoglycemia – Loss of Pancreas/Neurological Injury
Walkup attorneys obtained a mediated settlement of $2,250,000 on behalf of a male infant who now suffers from blindness, developmental delay and cognitive deficits, and who also had his pancreas removed, after nursing staff at Kaiser Sacramento failed to follow proper protocols when the infant showed signs of hypoglycemia.
The infant was born weighing 10 pounds, 7-1/2 ounces, which should have triggered a nursing protocol requiring blood screening tests at one, two, four, six and eight hours of age. Any tests revealing low blood sugar levels required that a blood sample be drawn and sent for analysis. In this case, the infant’s six-hour test was conducted at seven hours of age, and came back showing low blood sugar. However, the protocol requiring that blood be drawn and sent to the lab was not followed. The infant’s parents were never told of the abnormal result or warned to look for signs of hypoglycemia. At 24 hours of age, the infant and his parents were discharged. On the second morning at home, his mother had a hard time rousing him, and he presented at Urgent Care lethargic, not nursing, and with purple feet. He then suffered several seizures and was admitted to the hospital. Tests revealed that he had nesidioblastosis, a disease of the pancreas, resulting in profound, unremitting hypoglycemia. An MRI revealed evidence of posterior cerebral artery infarction, consistent with the diagnosis of severe hypoglycemia. Ultimately, nearly all of the infant’s pancreas had to be removed. As a result of his cerebral injury, he was left blind, with developmental delay and cognitive deficiencies. Walkup attorneys retained experts to show that failure to follow the established nursing protocol led to failure to appropriately diagnose and treat the infant’s hypoglycemia, which led to the infant’s cerebral injuries. The settlement in this case was structured to pay monthly guaranteed payments, plus $732,000 to be paid into a trust on the infant’s behalf.
San Jose Medical Malpractice Attorney Fights for Babies Injured at Birth
At Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we are sympathetic to the devastation caused by a birth injury, particularly when those injuries were preventable. Based in San Jose and Pacific Grove, our medical malpractice attorneys are experienced helping victims and their families recover compensation from medical professionals whose negligence results in harm to baby or mother. We understand the devastation every family suffers when birth injuries occur and are prepared to vigorously pursue all responsible parties. Contact our medical negligence attorney today to initiate a legal investigation into the cause of a birth injury or to pursue a claim against a negligent doctor.
How Does Negligence Affect Birth Injuries?
An infant can sustain an injury during, before, or directly after birth because of the negligent act or failure to act by a doctor or other medical professional. Medical professionals are trained to monitor the progress of pregnancy and labor to identify potential complications and protect the health of mother and fetus. If no complications arise throughout the pregnancy, you would expect that your child will be healthy at birth. Unfortunately, doctor negligence may result in devastating injuries or even death before or during delivery or even after birth. Many serious injuries are not identified until months after childbirth. Because of this, birth injuries can be complicated to link to negligence.
Our attorneys are experienced in the investigation of birth injuries. If there is a causal link between the injury and the negligence of your doctor or another medical professional, we vigorously pursue your claim to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. We work alongside medical experts who help trace injuries back to negligent actions and inactions by obstetricians, perinatologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other medical professionals.
Common Birth Injuries
Our San Jose, California medical malpractice attorneys are experienced with a wide range of birth injuries, including the following:
- Erb’s Palsy
- Cerebral Palsy
- Shoulder injuries
- Hypoxia or anoxia
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Bone fractures
- Postpartum hemorrhaging
- Newborn spinal cord injuries
- Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI)
- Klumpke’s paralysis
- Brain injuries
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Forceps, vacuum, and other medical equipment injuries
- Wrongful death of baby or mother
- Defective medical devices
- Birth injuries caused by Kaiser Permanente negligence
- Cerebral Palsy Caused by Medical Negligence
- Cerebral palsy is a condition of the brain that hinders muscle control, movement, and motor skills. Babies who are born premature or have a low birth rate have a higher risk of cerebral palsy. This means that mothers carrying multiples or who have a higher risk pregnancy, such as with gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, must be closely monitored.
Cerebral palsy may be caused by a variety of factors during pregnancy or during and after delivery, such as:
- Infections in the mother or baby
- Lack of blood or oxygen to the baby’s brain
- Traumatic injury, such as a forceps injury during delivery
- Breech birth Untreated jaundice
- Failure to note Rh blood type incompatibility
- The effect of cerebral palsy varies from baby to baby depending on which part of the brain was affected. Some possible problems include developmental delays, inability to crawl or grasp objects, seizures, blindness, hearing loss, or speech problems.
Understanding the long term effects cerebral palsy has on each child can be complicated. Your baby may need an MRI, cranial ultrasound, and other brain scans. Treatment for cerebral palsy may involve extensive therapy, surgery, medication, or assistive devices. You will likely also need to see a variety of experts, such as pediatric neurologists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and developmental experts. Our law firm works alongside all types of experienced experts who help to evaluate both immediate and long-term costs of treatments to maximize your financial recovery.
Shoulder Dystocia and Nerve Injuries Caused by Doctor Negligence
Shoulder dystocia is another common type of birth injury which occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck inside the mother’s body during labor and delivery. It may be caused by many factors, such as: Large baby (fetal macrosomia), often caused by gestational diabetes or delayed inducement after the due date Breech or transverse delivery Difficult or prolonged labor Pregnancy with multiples Cephalopelvic disproportion (baby is too big for mother’s body) or pelvic abnormalities Shoulder dystocia may occur because a doctor delays or fails to perform a c-section and instead continues a long and difficult labor. Negligent use of medical tools may also cause injuries, such as errors in vacuum extraction or excessive use of force with forceps to pull the baby from the birth canal. In the worst cases, the position can cause the baby to suffer oxygen deprivation, leading to brain damage or even death.
Brachial Plexus Palsy Injuries
While shoulder dystocia can have fatal repercussions, more commonly it leads to temporary or permanent nerve damage. Brachial palsy is a condition that occurs when the nerves to the arms and hands, called the brachial plexus, are injured through shoulder dystocia or other pressure, pulling, or stretching during birth. It may lead to symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the arm.
Erb’s Palsy is a type of brachial plexus palsy which affects just the upper nerves. Klumpke’s palsy or paralysis is another type which affects only the hand and forearm. In serious cases of brachial plexus palsy, the nerves are torn and the baby may suffer permanent, total nerve damage. Brachial palsy injuries may be treated with surgery or through physical therapy.
Birth Injuries to Mothers
While we typically think of babies when we think of birth injuries, mothers suffer direct harm as well. For example, an obstetrician may neglect to monitor signs of preeclampsia, diabetes, or a large baby during pregnancy. One common delivery injury is due to negligent use of epidurals. When an epidural is placed incorrectly, an anesthesiologist may cause nerve damage, ongoing pain, or even paralysis. Surgical errors may also occur during c-section or episiotomy, such as suturing errors or failure to monitor for blood clots. Negligent care after delivery may result in serious infections, as well.