Neonatal Brain Injury Due to Failure to Timely Deliver
Lawsuit Against Pocono Medical Center| July 8, 2020
The complaint alleges that on or about December 4, 2016, the child’s mother was 33 weeks and 4 days’ gestation when she began suffering from a headache that had begun the night before. She arrived at Pocono Medical Center at approximately 10:00 and was triaged at approximately 10:32 in the emergency department. The child’s mother had an elevated blood pressure before coming to the emergency department. The mother’s blood pressures remained dangerously elevated over the next several hours. At 12:10, the results of a urinalysis test revealed 3+ protein and she was diagnosed with mild-moderate preeclampsia in the third trimester. She was discharged from the emergency department and transferred to labor and delivery. Continuous fetal monitoring was initiated at approximately 12:38. The fetal heart rate was 120 BPM with moderate variability and variable decelerations noted to be Category II. The plan of care was to administer steroids for fetal lung maturity, begin IV hydration, and administer Procardia XL 30 mg. The doctor also noted that the mother had a history of two prior cesarean deliveries. At 13:00, the fetal heart rate tracing demonstrated mild contraction intensity, moderate variability and several decelerations. At 13:05, the doctor ordered a biophysical profile; the order stated the reason for the biophysical profile as “33 weeks, decels. Check BPP.” At 13:15, the fetal heart rate tracing demonstrated moderate variability and continuing decelerations. At approximately 13:24, a bedside biophysical profile was performed, which assigned an ominous score of 2/8. The findings were communicated to the treating doctor immediately after the examination, as well as at the time of dictation. The mother’s blood pressure remained high and variable decelerations were still being documented in the fetal heart tracings. At 13:58, the treating doctor made the decision to deliver via cesarean section due to the non-reassuring fetal status. The mother entered the operating room at 14:27, the procedure was initiated at 14:53, and delivery occurred at 14:58. From the time fetal monitoring was initiated until the child was delivered, the fetal heart rate tracing showed prolonged decelerations, minimal variability with periods of absent variability, and intermittent loss of contact. At birth, the child had Apgar scores of 1, 2, 2, and 4 at one, five, ten and fifteen minutes respectively. The child was limp and needed to be intubated while chest compressions were initiated. He was transferred to the NICU where he required doses of epinephrine, continued chest compressions and assistance with ventilation. He was subsequently transferred to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children on December 6, 2016 for presumed hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, seizures and acute renal failure. He suffered from severe neonatal encephalopathy, seizures, intraventricular hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and other injuries.
The child now has severe brain injury, seizures, and other injuries as a result of the negligence of Pocono Medical Center and its employees. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to properly respond to signs of fetal distress during labor. The child will require significant medical care and treatment for the rest of his life.
The action is pending in the Court of Common Pleas for Monroe County, Pennsylvania.