Large Settlement for Lawsuit Regarding Delayed Delivery of Baby in Distress
Michigan birth injury attorney Gurrajan Gill discusses a multi-million dollar settlement for a baby who suffered brain damage as a result of prolonged oxygen deprivation caused by a nuchal cord.
One of the country’s leading providers of healthcare workers, Cross Country Healthcare, Inc., has settled a birth injury lawsuit ahead of a $30.6 million jury award. The company was sued for employing a nurse who failed to properly monitor a baby’s heart rate prior to and during labor – and failing to promptly deliver the baby when he was in distress. The baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck (called a nuchal cord), causing the baby to be deprived of oxygen. If the nurse had been properly monitoring the baby’s heart tracings, she would have seen abnormal tracings, and this would have (or should have) prompted her to call for an emergency delivery.
Instead of using the required continuous fetal heart rate monitor, the nurse allegedly used a hand-held device to monitor the baby’s heart rate. It was contended that the nurse was actually monitoring the mother’s heart rate and thus, was not aware that the baby was in distress. When the baby was finally delivered, he was not breathing and had a very low heart rate. He was diagnosed with a nuchal cord at birth. As a result of being deprived of oxygen for a long time, the baby has severe brain injuries and will require a lifetime of care.
The nurse was one member of a healthcare team that included an obstetrician and midwife at one of the nation’s preeminent hospitals.
FAILURE TO PROMPTLY DELIVER A BABY WHO IS EXPERIENCING DISTRESS
Like the above-mentioned case, many of our birth trauma cases involve failure to emergently deliver a baby who is in distress. Some cases involve the baby exhibiting non-reassuring fetal heart rate (FHR) patterns on the continuous FHR monitor, and the healthcare team failing to recognize the severity of these patterns. Or, the team recognizes the non-reassuring patterns, but spends too much time trying to pinpoint the causes of the abnormal patterns and trying to relieve them, all the while delaying C-section preparation and delivery. In other instances, the healthcare team recognizes that the baby needs to be delivered right away, but a doctor is not available to perform an emergency C-section. We have also reviewed cases whereby the baby was in distress and needed emergent delivery, but there was no operating room available – or no anesthesiologist available – so the delivery could not occur in a timely fashion.
Indeed, when a baby is in distress and an emergency C-section is needed, the obstetrician’s obligation is to rescue the baby as soon as possible. FHR patterns that are ominous require delivery to occur immediately. Conditions that can produce ominous patterns include prolonged umbilical cord compression, tetanic uterine contractions (usually caused by Pitocin), and epidural and spinal anesthesia. Umbilical cord prolapse, nuchal cord, a true knot in the cord, placental abruption, and uterine rupture are conditions that can cause the baby to be completely cut off from the mother’s oxygen supply, thereby requiring immediate delivery.
THE MICHIGAN BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEYS AT GREWAL LAW HAVE BEEN HELPING FAMILIES FOR DECADES
If you think your baby experienced oxygen deprivation, a traumatic birth, delayed delivery, or delayed emergency C-section, or if your baby’s care was mismanaged after birth in the NICU, please contact our team of experienced birth injury attorneys. The medical malpractice team at Grewal Law is comprised of attorneys and healthcare professionals, including an on-site physician, registered nurse, pharmacist, paramedic, and respiratory therapist. We also work with the best consultants and experts from around the country. Our attorneys are licensed in Michigan, Florida and Arizona and we help victims of medical malpractice and birth trauma throughout the country.
If your baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, cerebral palsy, motor disorders, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), hydrocephalus, intellectual disabilities, or developmental delays, or if you experienced problems during delivery or shortly before or after birth, please call us. Our medical malpractice attorneys and medical staff are available to speak with you 24/7.