UMMC Delayed C-Section Birth Injury Lawsuit

Grimes v. University of Maryland Medical Center

Fetal Heart MonitorThis birth injury claim was filed in Baltimore City after a delayed C-section caused a baby to suffer permanent injuries including cerebral palsy and periventricular leukomalacia. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on January 30, 2018, and it is the 57th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A woman was transported from Civista Hospital to the University of Maryland Medical Center with a preterm premature rupture of membranes at 33 weeks pregnant. This was her third pregnancy and she had a history of pre-gestational and gestational diabetes, shoulder dystocia, and polycystic ovary syndrome.

When she arrived at the hospital she was experiencing contractions every four minutes. She was given Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions, Betamethasone to promote fetal lung maturity, and Ampicillin to prevent infection. An ultrasound showed an active fetus with healthy behavior appropriate for her gestational age of 33 weeks. The woman remained in the hospital for the next five days. During that time there was no continuous fetal monitoring and she continued to leak amniotic fluid each day.

On the fifth day after her admission to the hospital, the woman complained of painful contractions. The fetal monitor was put into place and showed that the baby was tachycardic, experiencing variable decelerations, minimal variability, and remained in the breech position. Essentially, the baby was in distress. Due to the breech presentation and non-reassuring fetal heart rate, the baby was delivered by C-section.

The baby was resuscitated and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit after birth, where she remained for 57 days. A head ultrasound showed ischemic changes, meaning that she suffered insufficient blood flow to the brain. She has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, periventricular leukomalacia, cortical visual impairment, seizures, and spastic quadriparesis.

Additional Comments
  • A similar lawsuit with the same plaintiff was filed in April 2017 and then filed again earlier in 2018. If you are interested in this case, read these summaries because we look at the cases from a lot of different angles. Plaintiff apparently voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit and refiled with a different standard of care expert. Plaintiff's lawyer also chose not to name any individual doctors in this lawsuit.

  • In the opinion of the claimant's expert witness, an OB/GYN physician, it was a violation of the standard of care not to continuously monitor the fetus' well-being, considering the potentially dangerous breech presentation with ruptured membranes and cervical dilation. If the baby had been placed on a fetal heart monitor during her entire hospitalization, the doctors would have detected her signs of distress earlier and performed a C-section quicker, preventing her permanent brain damage.

Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • University of Maryland Medical System Corporation d/b/a University of Maryland Medical Center
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Civista Hospital
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
Negligence
  • Failing to properly monitor and treat the claimant.
  • Failing to timely identify and respond to the claimant's life-threatening condition.
  • Failing to timely perform a C-section.
Specific Counts Pled
  • As a direct result of the defendant's negligence, the minor claimant suffered severe and permanent brain damage.
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