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Birth Injury Due to Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia

Lawsuit Against Rockford Memorial Hospital | October 8, 2020

On October 8, 2020, WVFO attorneys Jim Rollins and Dave Grzechowiak filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a child who suffered a preventable brain injury.

The complaint alleges that on May 1, 2014, the child’s mother presented to the labor and delivery unit of Rockford Memorial Hospital, which became known as Javon Bea Hospital in 2018. The mother was 26 and 6/7 weeks’ gestational age with an estimated date of delivery of August 1, 2014. Upon presentation, she complained of abdominal pain that began the evening before. Initial fetal heart monitoring demonstrated the presence of no maternal contractions and positive fetal movement with no decelerations and moderate variability. The mother’s initial blood pressure was measured at 180/86. The mother continued complaining of severe abdominal pain that was radiating to her back and nausea. The mother’s second blood pressure reading was measured at 137/87. A single urine sample was obtained and results indicated the absence of protein, blood, nitrite and ketones. A nurse administered a non-stress test on the unborn child. The test indicated the fetal baseline heart rate was 150 beats per minute with accelerations present and no maternal contractions. The fetal heart tracings were classified as Category I, ruling out preexisting fetal hypoxia. No further blood pressure readings were obtained. Despite reporting the presence of abdominal pain as well as experiencing chills beginning the day before, the mother was discharged. At that time the only known blood pressure readings were 180/87 and 138/87. No blood samples were obtained and there was no additional evaluation of the mother’s urine, despite the fact that she had several signs consistent with preeclampsia, a dangerous hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. On May 4, 2014, the mother again presented to Rockford Memorial Hospital complaining of abdominal pain. Her blood pressure was measured at 169/96. A urine sample was obtained and results indicated the presence of 300 mg/dL of protein, ketones at 20 mg/dL and a trace amount of blood. Edema was noted in the mother’s hands, ankles, and feet. Her next blood pressure was 172/93. A maternal and fetal specialist assessed the mother. He noted the presence of “severe HTN, proteinuria, thrombocytopenia and elevated LFTs.” He documented the blood pressure at 179/103 and decided she should “Deliver ASAP.” At birth the child weighed exhibited a weak cry, and was blue and floppy. She was severely depressed and required stimulation, oxygen, oral suctioning, mask ventilation as well as endotracheal tube ventilation in the delivery room. She was ultimately diagnosed with intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, cerebral palsy and global developmental delays.

The child’s injuries were a result of the negligence of Rockford Memorial Hospital and its employees. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants failed to diagnose and treat maternal preeclampsia. The child will require significant medical care and treatment for the rest of her life.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Illinois.

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