Newborn Brain Injury Due To Delayed Delivery
Lawsuit Against Johnson City Medical Center
On May 13, 2022, WVFK&N attorneys Mary Koch and Robert Lewis filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a baby who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that on the morning of February 7, 2021, the child’s mother called Sullivan County EMS at approximately 04:10 with reports of significant pain. An ambulance was dispatched to her home and arrived at approximately 04:27. Upon arrival, the mother was noted “standing on the porch bent over in pain,” and that she had “awakened at 03:30 this morning with pain at her pubic area. Patient says this is a constant pain.” The EMS report further notes, “Patient said the pain was 10 on the pain scale.” The “Communication Center Call Sheet” at Johnson City Medical Center notes a call at 0502 from the ambulance which reported the mother was “35 wks pregnant . . . abd (abdominal) pain – water has not broke … Constant pain … 10/10 pain scale … No pregnancy complication.” The ambulance arrived at Johnson City Medical Center at approximately 05:16. The mother arrived in the labor and delivery unit at 05:28 and electronic fetal monitoring (“EFM”) was initiated at approximately 05:35. At 06:01, a nurse noted that she discussed the patient’s presenting complaint of constant abdominal pain with the doctor. At 06:06, the doctor noted that the mother arrived in “constant pain” and that she was “unsure if she’s having contractions. Feels different than contractions she has had in previous pregnancies. Denies vaginal bleeding or LOF (leakage of fluid). Endorses good fetal movement.” At 07:30, a nurse noted that the patient was “asking to not have abdomen touched to adjust monitor.” She additionally noted (timed at 07:44): “Comments: audible fetal movement.” The EFM was removed at approximately 07:30 and was not reconnected until 07:59. At 07:59, the nurse noted: “unable to trace fetal heart rate.” At 08:01, the nurse, in an entry timed at 09:16, noted: “Comments: called for additional help to room, rolled to other side. abdomen rigid to the touch.” At 08:04, the nurse, in an entry timed at 09:17, noted: “Comments: bedside u/s fetal heart rate 90s,, Fetal Interventions: 02 Applied.” The decision for a cesarean section delivery was noted at 08:07, the mother was in the OR at 08:10, and procedure was started 08:18. The EFM was not continued in the OR. The baby was born by cesarean delivery at 08:19 on February 7, 2021. Her Apgar scores were 0, 0 and 3 at 1, 5 and 10 minutes of life, and she was noted as born “non-vigorous” with PPV (positive-pressure ventilation) started, and with “no heart rate” until first detected at “8 minutes 27 seconds,” after intubation, chest compressions, and epinephrine were started or given. The baby was initiated on the cooling (therapeutic hypothermia) protocol in the OR. In the Brief Op Note, the doctor noted: “Findings: Confirmed uterine rupture, fetus in amniotic sac free-floating in the abdomen with approximately 1L of bloode (sic).” Cord Blood Gas results were consistent with severe metabolic acidosis: pH: 6.93, pCO2: 117 mm/Hg; pO2: 30 mm/Hg, Base Excess: incalculable (i.e., too low to calculate). An MRI of the baby’s brain on February 12, 2021, revealed hypoxic ischemic injury. The baby now suffers permanent and severe injuries as a result of her injuries at birth, including permanent brain damage, physical and cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy, and will never be able to live independently or be employed.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Johnson City Medical Center and its employees in failing to properly and timely respond to concerning clinical signs.
The action is pending in the Circuit Court of Washington County, Tennessee.