(Filed January 20, 2016)Jurisdiction (where injury occurred if different from jurisdiction)
- Baltimore City
- St. Agnes Hospital
- Seton Medical Group, Inc.
- St. Agnes Hospital
- Johns Hopkins Hospital
This is a tragic birth injury case. A woman who is 37 weeks pregnant presents to her obstetrician complaining that she has lost her mucous plug. It is discovered that there is protein in her urine and her blood pressure is elevated. Therefore, the obstetrician sends her to the labor and delivery department at St. Agnes Hospital.
The woman arrives at St. Agnes just before noon. At this point, she is 1.5-2 centimeters dilated. The doctor plans to obtain a 24-hour urine collection for total protein, perform a biophysical profile, and continuously monitor the fetus. However, a biophysical profile cannot be performed because the woman is actively contracting. Nevertheless, the fetus' heart rate tracing is documented as "reactive."
As they day progresses the woman remains 2 centimeters dilated. The doctors plan to induce her with Cervidil and continue monitoring her. After the placement of the Cervidil, the fetal heart rate becomes even more non-reassuring. The medical staff responds by repositioning her several times. At this point it is past 1:00 a.m. the next day. The woman is still only 2 centimeters dilated and is experiencing an increasing amount of pain.
The attending nurse calls the woman's doctor. The doctor indicates that it is okay for the woman to have an epidural. The doctor does not come to the hospital to personally evaluate the woman and her baby's condition. After the placement of the epidural, the fetal heart rate tracing becomes even more non-reassuring.
For approximately the next 2 hours, the nurse repeatedly performs vaginal exams and repositions the woman. The woman is only 3 centimeters dilated and the fetal heart rate is not improving. Finally, the doctor comes to the hospital, two hours after the nurse had first expressed concerns about the fetal heart rate.
Instead of delivering the baby by emergency C-section, the doctor uses a fetal scalp electrode. It is only after this method proves unsuccessful that the doctor orders a C-section. Fetal monitoring is discontinued and the woman is transferred to the operating room. A baby boy is delivered.
The baby has poor Apgar scores, trouble breathing, a low heart rate, and his skin is discolored. He demonstrates clinical seizures, rhythmic tongue movements, and lip smacking. Due to his condition, he is transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital. At Johns Hopkins, he is diagnosed with a number of conditions which result in the conditions he suffers from today: brain damage, global development delay, and brain herniation.
The woman and her husband filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against St. Agnes in Baltimore City. They allege that the hospital violated the standard of care when they failed to (1) properly monitor the woman and her baby, (2) order a timely cesarean section, and (3) appropriately monitor the baby in the newborn period. As a result, the child is and will tragically be permanently dependent upon others for his care, has and will continue to undergo serious and painful medical procedures, and has and will continue to incur significant medical and other care expenses.Negligence
- Failed to properly monitor the woman and her baby
- Failed to order a timely cesarean section
- Failed to appropriately monitor the baby in the newborn period
- Medical Malpractice- Child's Claim
- Medical Malpractice- Parental Claim
- Informed Consent
- John M. Lorenz: board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist licensed to practice medicine in New York.
- James Balducci: board-certified obstetrician and maternal fetal medicine specialist licensed to practice medicine in Arizona.
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