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Newborn Brain Injury Due to Delayed Delivery

Lawsuit Against Baptist Memorial Hospital Northwest Mississippi | May 12, 2021

On May 12, 2021, WVFO attorneys Keith Forman and Myles Poster filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered an avoidable brain injury.

The complaint alleges that on June 6, 2017, the baby’s mother presented to Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi (“Baptist North Mississippi”). The mother’s blood pressures were within normal limits except for an elevated blood pressure (144/91) on arrival. The doctor noted that the fetal heart rate tracing was reassuring for gestational age of 29 weeks and 5 days. A normal fetal biophysical profile was reported the next day. Following the biophysical profile, betamethasone was administered for antenatal lung maturation and the plan of care was to discharge the mother with instructions to return on June 8, 2017 for her second dose of steroids and blood pressure monitoring. As instructed, the mother returned on June 8, 2017 at which time she received a second dose of betamethasone. A repeat biophysical profile performed during this prenatal visit was scored 8/8 evidencing, more likely than not, an overall healthy and neurologically intact fetus. On June 10, 2017, the mother presented to Baptist North Mississippi due to complaints of intermittent lower abdominal pain and cramping. External fetal heart rate monitoring was initiated on the mother shortly after arrival, which was reported as an overall reassuring Category I tracing. However, the mother was hypertensive with a severe range blood pressure (163/88) and continued abdominal cramping. Approximately an hour later, the fetal heart rate was evaluated at 1:23 p.m. as a Category II tracing with a baseline of 140 bpm, minimal variability, and variable decelerations. The mother also reported 8 out of 10 lower right abdominal pain. Results of a urinalysis obtained around 1:55 p.m. showed evidence of significant proteinuria in excess of 300 mg/dL, and at 2:09 p.m. the fetal heart rate remained Category II with a baseline of 145 bpm and minimal variability. A second blood pressure approaching the severe range (159/82) was reported at 2:30 p.m. The doctor noted that the mother’s uric acid and AST values had also increased since her most recent assessment. A biophysical profile was ordered by the doctor at 2:30 p.m. The presence of a sinusoidal fetal heart rate tracing was documented at 2:43 p.m., which was relayed to the doctor. At 2:50 p.m., magnesium sulfate was started for seizure prophylaxis at which time the mother’s blood pressure remained hypertensive. Maternal oxygen therapy was initiated at 2:55 p.m. At 3:04 p.m., the doctor was again contacted for the presence of a sinusoidal fetal heart rate. Around 3:05 p.m., an ultrasound technician was present at the bedside to perform the biophysical profile, which continued until approximately 3:32 p.m. The mother continued to report abdominal pain and uterine cramping throughout the biophysical profile. Subsequently, at 3:27 p.m. the doctor was notified that the fetal heart rate had become bradycardic. He arrived at the bedside at 3:29 p.m. The decision to proceed with emergent cesarean delivery was made at 3:30 p.m. The baby was delivered by emergency cesarean section through a moderate amount of bright red blood. At birth, the baby was severely depressed without a heart rate or spontaneous respiratory effort. The baby’s initial Apgar scores were reported as 0, 1, and 5 and one, five, and ten minutes of life, respectively. Post-operative pathological assessment of the placenta confirmed the presence of a marginal/retroplacental hematoma consistent with the clinical diagnosis of abruption. While admitted to the NICU, the baby was diagnosed with moderate hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and began exhibiting seizure activity. A head ultrasound performed on June 12, 2017 was interpreted as normal and a follow-up ultrasound on June 19th was interpreted as showing radiological findings consistent with periventricular leukomalacia. Additionally, an MRI performed on July 17, 2017 was interpreted as showing findings consistent with hypoxic-ischemic injury to the baby’s brain. Today, the baby continues to suffer from the neurological sequela of his brain injury including, but not limited to, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and global developmental delays.

The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Baptist Memorial Hospital 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 Lafayette City, Mississippi.

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