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Birth Injury Due to Failure to Timely Deliver

Lawsuit Against of Saint Francis Medical Center | October 16, 2020

On October 16, 2020, WVFO attorneys Jim Rollins and Keith Forman filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a child who suffered a preventable brain injury.

The complaint alleges that on July 15, 2014, the child’s mother was transferred to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center for preterm premature rupture of membranes at 25 weeks’ gestation. Upon admission, the fetal heart rate tracing was reassuring. She remained at the hospital as an in-patient for several days until the birth of her child. On July 21, 2014, a biophysical profile of the baby was performed and was reassuring. On July 27, 2014 at 3:21 a.m., while still an in-patient, the mother underwent a speculum exam. The exam revealed “a dark purple mass” in the cervix that was “similar in appearance to a limb” according to the doctor. This was the baby’s leg. However, despite this clear obstetrical emergency which required immediate delivery via cesarean section, the doctor did not take any action. Beginning at 3:40 a.m., the fetal heart rate tracing showed tachycardia, minimal variability, and variable decelerations, all of which are concerning for potential fetal asphyxia in utero. Despite these findings, the doctors and nurses did not move toward delivery. At 4:37 a.m., the mother called out stating that she felt a “pop” in her vagina. The nurse notified the doctor immediately, however, the doctor did not come to the bedside for the exam. While the nurses waited for the doctor to arrive, the baby’s heart rate was not being picked up on the fetal heart rate tracings. At 5:05 a.m., a nurse observed a fetal foot in the mother’s vagina. The nurse called out to the nurse’s station requesting that the doctor be notified. However, the doctor was not available. The baby was still not being picked up on the fetal monitor. Finally, at 5:11 a.m., the doctors arrived. At 5:14 a.m., another nurse arrived who requested that the mother be taken to the operating room for immediate delivery. The doctors agreed. The mother was transported for immediate cesarean section delivery. At 5:21 a.m., the child was delivered. She had no tone and no heart rate at delivery. Her Apgar scores were 0, 0, 2, and 5 at one, five, ten, and fifteen minutes, respectively. Her leg was bruised, black, and swollen, with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her thigh at birth. These findings were consistent with the “dark purple mass” that was “similar in appearance to a limb” hours earlier. The child’s doctors found that she suffered from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy due to the asphyxia she suffered in utero. The child now suffers from brain damage, seizure disorder, global developmental delay, cerebral palsy, and other injuries.

The child’s injuries were a result of the negligence of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and its employees. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants failed to respond to the signs of fetal distress and to the evidence of the baby’s foot protruding from the mother’s vagina. The child will require significant medical care and treatment for the rest of her life.

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

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