Newborn Brain Injury Due To Delayed Delivery
Lawsuit Against Chi Saint Joseph Health – London
On July 29, 2022, WVFK&N attorneys Mary Koch and Sarah Smith filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that on July 29, 2021, the baby’s mother presented to Saint Joseph for a scheduled induction of labor at 36 weeks and 6 days gestation secondary to cholestasis. At the time of the induction of labor, the baby was healthy with a heart rate that was reactive and reassuring. The following morning, on July 30, 2021, at 05:53, a vaginal exam showed that the mother was 3 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, the baby was at -2 station, and the uterine resting tone was soft. At 06:30, Pitocin was initiated at 20 units in 1,000 mL of lactated ringers at a rate of 5 mL/hour. The rate of Pitocin was increased steadily over the next several hours. At 10:30, variable decelerations were noted with a baseline of 140 beats per minute, accelerations and moderate variability. Over the next several hours, despite the presence of variable decelerations, the rate of Pitocin was increased on several occasions. Pitocin was stopped almost immediately at 14:59, with severe bradycardia documented at 15:00. A vaginal exam was documented at 15:01 that showed the mother was 7-8 centimeters dilated, and 100% effaced. At 15:11, approximately 10 minutes after the severe bradycardia was noted, a nursing note indicates that the doctor was made aware of the tracing, the interventions and the recent vaginal exam. Despite those findings, at 15:24, Pitocin was re-started at 35 mL/hour, equivalent to 12 mu/minute. At 15:36, less than 15 minutes after Pitocin was re-started, the EFM showed another severe bradycardia. At 15:37, Pitocin was discontinued. At 15:40, a stat cesarean section delivery was finally called. At 15:57, the baby was delivered via stat cesarean section. At birth, the baby was noted to be pale, with no respiratory effort and a heart rate of 60 beats per minute. Apgar scores were 1, 1, and 0 at one, five and ten minutes respectively. Positive pressure ventilation was initiated at 1 minute 30 seconds of life and continued. Chest compressions were initiated at 2 minutes and 30 seconds of life, after suctioning. At 15:59, two minutes after delivery and 19 minutes after the order for a stat cesarean section, the pediatrician was notified of the need to resuscitate the baby. At 16:10, thirteen minutes after delivery via stat cesarean section, the pediatrician was noted to be present for the first time. Resuscitative efforts continued for more than thirty minutes before the baby was transported to the newborn unit. The baby was transferred to the University of Kentucky at 19:58 for treatment of severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and respiratory failure. The baby was treated with therapeutic hypothermia in the setting of severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The baby has been diagnosed with severe and permanent brain and neurological injuries that will require care throughout his lifetime.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of CHI Saint Joseph – London and its employees in failing to timely respond to concerning clinical signs and failing to timely deliver the baby.
The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Laurel County, Kentucky.