4-year-old Kayla Mae McCraw will never walk, talk, or go to the bathroom on her own because of several egregious medical errors that occurred during her labor and delivery at Tripler Army Medical Center. Thankfully, Kayla’s family will receive an $11 million settlement from the federal government for her medical care, assistance and rehabilitation for the rest of her life.
According to the family’s attorney, Kayla, the daughter of a former Hawaii Navy Family, was delivered in 2005 by a team of inexperienced doctors at the Tripler Army Medical Center. In the early hours of November 11, Kayla’s mother checked into the hospital and was placed under the care of a young, second-year resident being supervised by a more experienced doctor new to Tripler. Throughout the day, fetal monitors showed signs of distress and by 5 p.m. the resident and her supervisor concluded that the baby would be in “extreme jeopardy” if she was not delivered immediately. However, they failed to do anything about the situation for another hour. By 6 p.m., the monitor showed that Kayla was almost dead and was finally delivered from her mother’s womb with relative ease. Unfortunately, the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around Kayla’s neck and she was born limp and not breathing. In addition, blood gas analysis showed that she had essentially suffocated during the last stages of labor. Kayla’s doctors alerted a resuscitation team, which was led by a second-year resident, to attend to the newborn. Sadly, a first-year intern inserted an endotracheal tube, designed to administer 100 percent oxygen through Kayla’s trachea and into her lungs, into the infant’s stomach instead. As a result, Kayla’s lungs, heart, and brain were deprived of desperately needed oxygen for forty more minutes before more senior doctors discovered the problem. On top of these errors, someone also had failed to adequately clamp Kayla’s umbilical cord, leading her to “bleed out” and require a transfusion.
Kayla’s settlement follows a $16.5 million verdict delivered against the federal government and Tripler in 2006 over the delivery of Izzy Peterson, who was given carbon dioxide instead of oxygen to help him breathe, resulting in severe brain damage. The mishaps that Kayla experienced left her a spastic quadriplegic suffering from cerebral palsy who will have to be fed through a tube for the rest of her life.