A baby boy suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy because hospital labor and delivery nurses and an obstetrician failed to properly monitor the baby during labor. We represented the boy and his family and secured a multi-million dollar recovery for them.
What Happened During Labor and Delivery
After a normal and uncomplicated pregnancy, our client began experiencing steady contractions in her 40th week of pregnancy. She went to the hospital, and her obstetrician was notified of her arrival by the labor and delivery nursing staff.
The obstetrician instructed the nursing staff to place our client on a fetal heart monitor and to notify him when her contractions increased and she became further dilated and effaced. After several hours, her labor had not progressed as much as the doctor wanted, so he ordered the nurses to start administering Pitocin, a drug used to increase contractions and progress labor.
Several more hours went by and our client still had not progressed as much as her doctor wanted, so he ordered that her Pitocin dose be increased.
Despite the mother’s failure to progress and an increase in Pitocin, her doctor did not drive to the hospital to check on her in person. Instead, he stayed at home and relied on the nursing staff to keep him informed of her condition.
Problems With the Fetal Heart Monitor Were Not Reported
If the doctor had taken the time to examine the laboring mom in person, he would have known that the nurses were having problems monitoring the baby’s heart rate. During the first two hours of monitoring, the fetal heart monitor showed an excellent beat-to-beat variability, and the heart rate indicated a healthy infant. However, after the first two hours, the monitor wasn’t consistently picking up the fetal heart rate nor the contractions.
Despite the problems with the fetal heart monitor, the nurses didn’t inform the doctor of their difficulty getting a consistent reading, and they failed to follow hospital protocol which would have had them use an intrauterine pressure catheter and fetal scalp electrode. Instead, the nurses kept readjusting the fetal heart monitor and hoping it was working. The doctor didn’t come to the hospital and did not know there was a problem.
After Shift Change, Nurses Identified Problems
After nine hours, a shift change occurred and the new labor and delivery nurses took over. The new nurses immediately replaced the fetal heart monitor and added additional monitoring. Unfortunately, the fetal heart rate was now showing poor beat-to-beat variability and heart rate, a hyperstimulated uterus, and multiple late decelerations.
It was clear the infant had suffered a tragic hypoxic injury that had gone unnoticed for hours.
The infant was immediately delivered via C-section by an on-call resident obstetrician. The baby’s APGARS were one, three, and three. He was transferred to the NICU. Later MRIs showed a brain injury (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). He was diagnosed with a severe case of cerebral palsy which would require physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
Our Birth Injury Team Fought for the Child’s Fair Legal Recovery
Our firm fought hard for two years against the hospital’s and physician’s insurance companies. We retained numerous world-renowned experts in the fields of pediatric neuro-radiology, obstetrics, labor and delivery nursing, fetal heart monitoring, pediatric neurology, hospital administration, physiatry, and genetics. We prepared this case for trial, and we were ready to go to court.
One week before trial, the case was resolved for a confidential amount that will provide the necessary medical care and living expenses for the child and his family to help cope with his injuries. Two of the nurses in this case were fired from the hospital and were reported to the state nursing board.The attorneys, staff nurse, and entire legal team at Gray and White Law are committed to helping children who have suffered birth injuries receive the fair and just recoveries they deserve. Please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation if your child was hurt during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.