Negligent Discharge Of Mother With Preterm Labor
Brain Injury Due To Premature Birth – Lawsuit Against Greater Baltimore Medical Center | December 30, 2019 – Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland
The complaint alleges that on July 5, 1999, the child’s mother presented to GBMC with a chief complaint of irregular right sided back, abdominal, and leg pain. The mother was discharged on July 5, 1999 with a handout on labor precautions. At that time, the mother was documented to have a prior history of preterm delivery at 24 weeks’ gestation that ultimately led to fetal demise. Prior preterm delivery is a known risk factor for subsequent preterm labor and delivery. The following day, July 6, 1999, the mother presented to GBMC labor and delivery triage again with a chief complaint of continued cramping. Her estimated gestational age at the time was documented as 26 weeks. Notably, her pulse was recorded at 97 and her blood pressure was recorded at 136/88. However, her temperature was not taken or recorded. The fetal heart rate tracing baseline was recorded as being elevated above normal levels. That same note also documented that the mother was complaining of cramps radiating to the lower quadrants of her abdomen. Therefore, there was evidence of maternal tachycardia, fetal tachycardia, and maternal uterine tenderness. These three findings were consistent with chorioamnionitis, or infection. Untreated chorioamnionitis can lead to preterm labor and severe maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Despite these signs and symptoms, coupled with the mother’s prior history of preterm delivery, and the fact that she had been discharged the day before with labor precaution instructions for similar pain, GBMC discharged the mother on July 6, 1999. This was a deviation from the standard of care. The mother should have been admitted and given steroids to mature the fetal lungs to prepare for potential preterm birth. On July 9, 1999, the mother again presented to GBMC labor and delivery triage. Unfortunately, she was now in full-blown preterm labor. An ultrasound revealed that the fetus was in the breech position. The child was born via cesarean section delivery. At birth, the child was documented as cyanotic (i.e. blue), apneic, and flaccid. Resuscitative measures included positive pressure by mask, intubation and ventilation, and tracheal suctioning. Subsequent head ultrasound studies revealed grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage. The placental pathology report confirmed acute chorioamnionitis. A ventricular tap was performed to drain excess fluid from the brain. The child suffered prematurity, post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage, chronic lung disease, persistent pulmonary hypertension, and other injuries as a result of his preterm birth.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants negligently discharged the child’s mother when she was at risk for preterm labor. The child is developmentally delayed and suffers from cerebral palsy and other serious injuries as a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ negligence. The child suffered permanent neurological injuries and damages as a result of his premature birth and will require significant medical care and treatment for the remainder of his life.