Cerebral Palsy Failure to Perform Immediate C-Section Lawsuit

Anonymous v. Johns Hopkins Hospital (Howard County General)

Doctor Treating Patient This is a failure to perform a caesarean section birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Baltimore City. The plaintiff is a boy and his family stemming from his birth at Howard County General Hospital. It is the 36th medical malpractice suit filed in 2017 in Maryland and was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on January 20, 2017.

Summary Of Plaintiff's Allegations

A woman receives prenatal care at about 26 weeks gestation at the Family Health and Birth Center (a non-profit in D.C. that is not named as a defendant).

One day, while she is in Columbia, Maryland, she begins to feel contractions. She is planning to drive to Baltimore to go to Johns Hopkins Hospital for an evaluation, due to its "Premier Academic Medical Center." She then remembers that Howard County General Hospital is affiliated with Johns Hopkins, so later that day she is taken via ambulance to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH).

She arrives at HCGH with labor pain and contractions. Shortly after her arrival, she is triaged into the labor and delivery unit. Fetal heart monitoring begins. She is examined and is 2-3 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. She is evaluated by a doctor wearing a white coat with the Johns Hopkins Medicine logo, so she believes she is receiving care from a Hopkins' health provider.

The medical records reveal that she was in the category of Category II fetal tracing. She has an ultrasound, which notes fetal breathing but no movement. Additionally, her amniotic fluid index suggests a lack of amniotic fluid. The fetal heart rate begins to drop shortly after she arrives at the hospital, and has periods of minimal and absent variability. This means the heart rate is remaining steady which, counterintuitively, is not a good thing. Persistent minimal or absent heart rate variability is a major sign of fetal compromise.

The external fetal tracing is discontinued, and the plan is for an abdominal delivery. Once she is transferred to the operating room sixteen minutes later, she receives anesthesia and a spinal epidural. Half an hour later, her son, plaintiff, is born via cesarean section. He was born "meconium stained, limp, and apneic" with a heart rate of fewer than 100 beats per minute. He is intubated. His color and tone gradually improve after about five minutes. He continues to have irregular respirations and is transferred to the newborn nursery. Shortly after, he is vomiting and is dusky.

A neonatologist is called to evaluate plaintiff, and he is transferred to the NICU for an evaluation of cyanosis and respiratory distress. His first arterial blood gas is taken two hours after his birth and is consistent with metabolic acidosis. He is treated for sepsis, respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, and metabolic acidosis. However, he is not diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. He is noted to have an abnormal posturing of his right arm, consistent with neonatal seizures.

An EEG reveals frequent electrographic seizures from several brain areas. A full sepsis workup is done, including spinal fluid and blood cultures. The hospital plans to transfer him to Johns Hopkins with nitric oxide during transport.

Despite clinical indications of a hypoxic-ischemic event, plaintiff does not receive any form of therapeutic hypothermia while at HCGH. He stays at Johns Hopkins for seventeen days, where he is diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, seizure disorder, and persistent pulmonary hypertensions.

Plaintiff suffers from brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of suffering hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy near the time of his birth.

Additional Comments
  • The Complaint does not show how long the delay was for the C-section. It was at least 30 minutes. If the jury believes that the baby suffered an injury during that delay, this will be a problem for the hospital.
  • Category II fetal tracings deserve far more attention than they get in many labor and delivery rooms. Category II is the middle between great and highly troubling and damaging. This means it could break either way. The OBs and nurses should be doing everything they can to push a Category II back to a Category I.
  • JHH is going to defend the case claiming the injuries were the result of prematurity. There are not enough facts to assess the viability of that defense.
Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Howard County General Hospital
Negligence
  • Failure to conduct appropriate and timely examinations and utilize procedures
  • Failure to timely recognize plaintiff's serious medical condition and respond to it
  • Failure to react to positive history, symptoms, signs, physical findings, and data illustrative of plaintiff's condition
  • Failure to appropriately interpret electronic fetal heart monitoring and diagnose non-reassuring fetal heart tracings
  • Failure to appropriately order/perform a cesarean section and failure to timely deliver plaintiff
  • Failure to diagnose and treat hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and hypothermia treatment
Specific Counts Pled
  • Medical Malpractice
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If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in a hospital due to the negligence of a doctor or hospital staff, we can help you. Miller & Zois has a history of getting large verdicts in medical malpractice cases. Go online for a free evaluation or call us at 800-553-8082 to speak with a birth injury lawyer who can help you.

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