$11 Million Settlement for Baby Brain Damaged by Army Medical Hospital

Posted on Sep 24, 2010

Baby daughter of former Navy family suffered severe permanent brain damage injuries during child birth at Tripler Army Medical Center as a result of young and inexperienced doctors who put the newborn through a series of medical malpractice and negligent medical errors. The family received an $11 million settlement from the U.S. government to compensate for her lifetime of medical care, assistance and rehabilitation. 

According to the spokesperson for Tripler Army Medical Center, the delivery of the infant was an "unfortunate tragedy" and "Tripler accepts full responsibility for the outcome," which resulted in the army hospital's decision to support settlement of the lawsuit brought on behalf of the baby and her family. In the early hours on the date of delivery, the expectant mother went into labor carrying her first child and checked into Tripler, accompanied by husband - who has since then been medically discharged from the Navy. Mother and her unborn child were placed under the care of a young, second-year resident who was being supervised by a more experienced doctor and was relatively new to Tripler. Throughout the day, monitors showed signs of fetal distress and, by early evening at around 5:00 p.m., situation took a turn for the worst.

Although the young resident and her more experienced supervisor concluded the baby would be in extreme jeopardy if she wasn't delivered immediately, the doctors did little for nearly an hour due to failure of communication.  At approximately 6:00 p.m., the fetal monitor showed that the baby was nearly dead. When the newborn was finally removed from her mother's womb, allegedly with relative ease, the doctors discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. Unfortunately, the baby was born limp and not breathing.

According to the blood gas analysis, essentially she had suffocated during the last stages of labor. At this point, doctors already alerted a resuscitation team, which was led by another second-year medical resident, to attend to the newborn. A first-year intern then inserted an endotracheal tube designed to administer 100 percent oxygen through the newborn's trachea and into her lungs. Instead, the intern inserted the tube down the baby's esophagus and pumped the oxygen into her stomach, which deprived her lungs, heart and brain of badly oxygen that was crucially needed. Close to an hour passed before a staff neonatologist discovered the problem and corrected the placement of the endotracheal tube. The newborn responded immediately to the correction and regained color. But, unfortunately, the baby had already suffered severe brain damage.

It was also discovered that someone had failed to adequately clamp the newborn's umbilical cord, which lead her to "bleed out" and require a transfusion. The series of negligent medical care and malpractice that lasted more than two hours, and involved multiple violations of basic medical protocol, resulted in her brain damage, and her condition of being a spastic quadriplegic suffering from cerebral palsy who will have to be fed through a tube for the rest of her life. 

The hospital spokesperson concluded her statement by saying that "Tripler's commitment to providing the highest quality medical care to our active duty service men and women, their families and dependents, and the larger...community has never been greater. Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do. Tripler has completed an extensive review and evaluation of this case and has already implemented important changes designed to ensure that similar tragedies do not occur in the future."

Hopefully, the significant settlement amount will force the hospital and its doctors to monitor signs of fetal distress and respond immediately in order to avoid tragedies similar to this newborn's delivery. If you suspect that you or someone you love was the victim of medical errors during delivery, you should contact our law firm to have your questions and concerns promptly addressed. Gray and White Law has helped many Kentucky families whose infants have suffered injuries (such as brain damage, paralysis, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia and blindness) as a result of negligent medical care and improper newborn screening by an obstetrician, assisting doctors or hospital labor and delivery nurses.  Please contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION via confidential e-mail or toll-free at 1-888-450-4456.

Read More About $11 Million Settlement for Baby Brain Damaged by Army Medical Hospital...

Matthew L. White
Connect with me
Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law