Newborn Brain Injury Due to Avoidable Preterm Birth
Lawsuit Against Sinai Hospital
On February 7, 2023, WVFK&N attorneys Keith Forman and Jermaine Haughton filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that the mother presented to Sinai on October 7, 2019, and her cervix was found to be 2 cm dilated. This was the first report of cervical dilation. She was 23 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Among other things, she was diagnosed with “preterm labor” and “epigastric abdominal pain.” Of note, abdominal pain was not a new complaint for the mother, as she had visited the emergency room at Sinai for the same complaints of sharp intermittent abdominal pain/cramping on previous occasions. This abdominal pain/cramping was not diagnosed as preterm labor on any occasion prior to October 7, 2019. The mother was admitted for further evaluation and treatment, to include tocolytics (to slow down uterine activity), betamethasone (for fetal lung maturity), and penicillin (for GBS positive status). Despite counseling the mother on the importance of prolongation of her pregnancy, the Sinai doctors never advised the mother of the possibility of having a cervical cerclage placed. A cervical cerclage (or cervical stitch) is the single most effective method of prolonging a pregnancy in which there is premature shortening or dilatation of the cervix (cervical insufficiency). By reinforcing the cervix, a cerclage prevents further dilatation of the cervix, further prolapse of the fetal membranes into the vagina, preterm premature rupture of membranes, intra-amniotic infection, and premature delivery. An additional 24 hours went by without placement (or discussion) of a cerclage. Without a cerclage in place, the mother’s membranes ruptured shortly after 9 p.m. on October 9—over 64 hours after her admission. The baby was delivered by cesarean section at the very premature gestational age of 23 weeks and 2 days. At birth, she had Apgar scores of 5 at 1 minute and 7 at 5 minutes. She suffered respiratory distress and required mechanical ventilation. Imaging studies performed following her admission showed progressively worsening bilateral intraventricular hemorrhages. Today, the child suffers from severe brain injury, cerebral palsy, global developmental delays, and other injuries and damages secondary to her premature birth.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Sinai Hospital Hospital and its employees in failing to recommend or offer the placement of a cervical cerclage.
The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.