Newborn Brain Injury Due To Failure To Properly Resuscitate
Lawsuit Against Shady Grove Adventist Hospital
On October 14, 2022, WVFK&N attorneys Christopher Norman and Greg Kirby filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that the baby’s mother began her prenatal care at 10 weeks gestation. When congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) was suspected, she was referred to Maternal-Fetal Medicine Associates of Maryland (“MFMAM”). On or about February 8, 2019, a doctor confirmed a fetal diagnosis of left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). On March 15, 2019, the mother was referred to the Fetal Medicine Institute at Children’s National for a further fetal MRI, other advanced testing, and consultation with a neonatologist and a pediatric surgeon to discuss the diagnosis further and prepare a plan of care for the baby during and after birth. They advised the mother that babies with severe CDH require the highest level of support immediately after birth, including potential extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (“ECMO”). Importantly, they also discussed that “rapid transfer” from Shady Grove to Children’s National Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit would occur to provide the baby the high level of care necessary to stabilize him for the purpose of ensuring that his CDH did not cause a cycle of pulmonary hypertension. On June 17, 2019, providers from Shady Grove recommended “rapid transfer” of the baby to CNMC after delivery. The mother agreed with and consented to rapid transfer to CNMC based upon the discussion she had with her health care providers. As memorialized in the June 17 note, all Shady Grove providers and consultants were aware that the baby would be emergently transferred to CNMC. On June 24, 2019, a final biophysical profile and assessment was performed and was scored as 8 out of 8 with normal breathing, movement and tone visualized with the fetal heart rate at 150 bpm, consistent with all prior biophysical profile exams. Because the mother reported some wetness in her underwear, MFMAM advised her to be evaluated for premature rupture of membranes at Shady Grove. As this was going to be a C-section delivery, MFMAM noted that delivery “tomorrow” (June 25) would be ideal. MFMAM discussed the plan for earlier delivery with a doctor, who was tasked with coordinating delivery with Shady Grove. MFMAM further noted that they would be in communication regarding the timing of delivery to facilitate communication with Children’s National Hospital given the congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) to accomplish the plan of rapid transfer to CNMC. As recommended, the mother presented to Shady Grove Labor and Delivery on June 25, 2019. The decision was made to deliver the baby by a C-section on June 26, 2019. Prior to this date, CNMC had been informed that delivery was scheduled to occur on June 27. At no point prior to birth was CNMC updated about delivery on June 26 and asked to be present. Said differently, CNMC was not notified that the date of delivery had been advanced – thus, they were prevented from being present for delivery and/or providing guidance about the immediate neonatal care as the plan of care required. On June 26, 2019, on or about 10:54 a.m. the mother underwent a C-section. Although the Shady Grove NICU team was aware of and present at delivery, CNMC’s NICU neonatology transport team who were competent to provide the stabilization and specialty care that the baby required immediately after birth, were absent because they had not been notified by any of the delivering doctors that the delivery date had been changed. Despite being born at 10:54 a.m. with an established plan for specialized care and rapid transport to CNMC immediately following delivery, CNMC Transport was not contacted until 11:19 a.m. (twenty-four minutes after birth). The helicopter arrived at Shady Grove at 11:52 a.m. and CNMC Transport providers were at bedside at 12:05 p.m., which was about seventy-one (71) minutes after birth due to the failure to communicate by the Defendant health care providers. Upon assuming care, CNMC Transport found the baby’s blood gases to demonstrate a significant and profound deterioration in his condition compared to immediately following birth. The transport nurse noted that “[Shady Grove] called for transport [because they were] initially able to stabilize infant but [now the care required is] unable to be provided by [Shady Grove].” CNMC’s Impression and Plan for the baby was “severe hypoxia after birth . . . currently requiring HFOV and nitric oxide to maintain oxygenation.” The baby is now severely disabled with severe brain damage, signs of cerebral palsy, a permanent tracheostomy, G-Tube dependence, seizures, and extensive physical and cognitive developmental delays, among other disabilities and problems.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and its employees in failing to timely prepare for the baby’s congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland.