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Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury Due To Failure To Timely Deliver

Lawsuit Against Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center | December 6, 2019

On December 6, 2019, WVFO attorneys Mary Koch and Sarah Smith filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a minor child who suffered a brain injury due to a delayed delivery.

The complaint alleges that on January 11, 2012 the child’s mother received an ultrasound which revealed symmetric growth restriction with an estimated fetal weight of 2,625 grams. The mother was referred to the Labor & Delivery Unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The examination revealed that the baby had a fetal weight at the 2nd percentile. The mother was admitted on January 11, 2012 for induction of labor at term secondary to intrauterine growth restriction. Continuous fetal monitoring was initiated at approximately 12:11 p.m. Pitocin was started to induce labor. Beginning at 4:01 p.m., the fetal heart rate showed evidence of variable declarations. Intrauterine resuscitative measures were started to improve oxygenation to the baby. A second dose of Pitocin was administered at 5:39 p.m. The fetal monitoring strip showed ongoing late and variable decelerations from 6:13 p.m. until the time of delivery. In the midst of these ongoing decelerations and continuous intrauterine resuscitative measures, the mother’s cervix was not progressing sufficiently for a vaginal delivery. There were also irregular contractions which worsened the fetal heart rate tracing. From approximately 8:58 p.m. to 9:01 p.m., the fetal monitoring strip shows a prolonged deceleration. Shortly thereafter, a nurse documented that the mother voiced her interest in having a cesarean section delivery. Despite this request, the doctors and nurses continued to attempt a vaginal delivery for several more hours. The fetal heart rate tracings continued to show fetal distress despite continuous intrauterine resuscitative measures. Moreover, the mother’s cervix did not progress at a sufficient rate for a vaginal delivery. Finally, the decision was made for a cesarean section delivery. The operative report stated that delivery was indicated due to lack of progress and fetal intolerance of labor. Surgery start time is documented at 11:55 p.m. During the course of delivery, “there was difficulty in delivering the fetal head secondary to head entrapment by the anterior fibroid pushing against the neck of the fetus.” The “head was entrapped for approximately 5 minutes secondary to a large anterior uterine fibroid.” The baby was born at approximately 12:37 a.m. on January 12, 2012 and weighed 2800 grams. The baby was noted to be limp and apneic and placed on a radiant warmer before being intubated and transferred to the NICU. Initial arterial cord gas revealed a pH of 6.85 and base excess of -15.0. The baby was eventually transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital for therapeutic hypothermia due to concern for hypoxic ischemic injury.

The child has severe hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, global developmental delay, and other injuries as a result of the negligence of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and its employees. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants negligently delayed delivery via cesarean section despite the obvious signs of fetal distress. The child suffered permanent neurological injuries and will require significant medical care and treatment for the remainder of his life.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.

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