Newborn Brain Injury Due To Delayed Delivery
Lawsuit Against Holy Cross Hospital
On March 13, 2023, WVFK&N attorneys Mary Koch and Sarah Smith filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a baby who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that on November 12, 2020, the baby’s mother presented to Holy Cross at 40 weeks and 1 day of pregnancy. Continuous fetal monitoring was initiated at 01:33. At 02:00, an FHR baseline of 125 with moderate variability, accelerations present, and absent decelerations was recorded. The History and Physical at 03:42 indicated that the mother presented for a scheduled induction of labor, denied loss of fetal movement and vaginal bleeding. The mother was noted to be positive for HSV and on acyclovir suppression. The doctor documented that a cervical exam at 03:00 showed the cervix was 0 cm dilated, 50% effaced and the fetal station was -3. At 03:29, a doctor placed an order for Cytotec 25 mcg PO every 2 hours. At 03:38 a doctor placed an order for induction/augmentation of labor with oxytocin. At 06:33, a second dose of 25 mcg of Cytotec was administered. At 06:47, it is noted that a nurse is continuously at the bedside. At 06:49, the doctor was informed of an “audible decel in FHR and minimal variability.” The note goes on to state that the doctor reviewed the tracing and ordered the nurse to start oxygen, which was initiated at 06:53. At 07:00, a nurse noted irregular contractions, FHR baseline of 115 with moderate variability, accelerations present and absent decelerations. At 08:45, a nurse noted contractions every 1-4 minutes, an FHR baseline of 120, moderate variability, accelerations present and variable decelerations. At 13:55 a cervical examination revealed the cervix to be 3 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and the fetal station is -3. Fetal monitoring was discontinued from 14:08 to approximately 14:35 for the administration of an epidural. From 14:55 to 15:15, a nurse noted contractions every 2 minutes with an FHR baseline of 120, moderate variability, absent accelerations, and variable decelerations. A cervical exam documented at 15:58 indicated the cervix was 5 centimeters dilated, 90% effaced and the fetal station was -3. At 16:00, the nurse noted contractions every 2-4 minutes with an FHR baseline of 130, moderate variability, absent accelerations and late decelerations. At 16:13, spontaneous rupture of membranes was noted with a moderate amount of clear fluid with no odor. At 18:26, a cervical exam indicated that the cervix was 10 centimeters dilated, 100% effaced and the fetal station was -2. At 18:30, the nurse contractions every minute, with an FHR baseline of 130 with moderate variability, absent accelerations, and late/variable/prolonged decelerations, and that the FHT was not reactive. At 19:00, the mother’s temperature was noted to be 102.6 degrees. At 19:15 and 19:30, a nurse noted contractions from every 1-2 to 1-2.5 minutes with an FHR baseline of 165-170, moderate variability, absent accelerations, and recurrent late/variable decelerations. At 19:45, a nurse noted contractions every 1-2.5 minutes with an indeterminate FHR baseline, moderate variability, absent accelerations, and recurrent late/variable decelerations. At 19:46, the mother was noted to be “moving all around bed rating pain 10/10.” From 20:00 to 20:40, the nurse noted contractions every 1-2.5 minutes with an FHR baseline of 170, moderate variability, absent accelerations, and recurrent late/variable decelerations. Fetal monitoring was discontinued at 20:41. The mother was in the OR at 20:43, with delivery of the baby noted at 20:53. The baby was assigned Apgar scores of 1 and 7 at 1 and 5 minutes respectively and was noted to be limp and apneic upon delivery. Initial cord gas revealed a pH of 6.93 and base excess of -15. The baby’s presentation was consistent with encephalopathy, and he began therapeutic hypothermia due to concern for hypoxic ischemic injury at approximately 3 and a half hours of life. Today, the baby suffers from brain damage, global developmental delay and other damage.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Holy Cross Hospital and its employees in failing to properly and timely respond to concerning clinical signs.
The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland.