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NEWBORN BRAIN INJURY DUE TO VENOUS AIR EMBOLISM

LAWSUIT AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MEDICAL CENTER | April 9, 2021

On April 9, 2021, WVFO attorneys Keith Forman and Myles Poster filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage as a result of venous air embolism.

The complaint alleges that the newborn was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease shortly after birth. The plan of care included surgical intervention. On October 16, 2019, when the newborn was only a week old, she was transported to the operating room for a laparoscopic proctectomy secondary to the diagnosis of Hirschsprung’s disease. Shortly after beginning the procedure, anesthesiology reported a sudden decrease in end-tidal CO2 (35=>20). In response, endotracheal tubing was confirmed as intact and bilateral breath sounds were reported with handbag ventilation. A second precipitous drop in end-tidal CO2 (20=>12) was noted by anesthesiology. A bradycardia was noted by anesthesiology and a small dose of epinephrine (3 mcg IV) was administered with no improvement in heart rate. Subsequently, a code dose of epinephrine was administered (30 mcg IV). The doctors noted that venous air embolism was suspected. Resuscitation was started with chest compression and was performed for half an hour. After initial attempts to re-establish spontaneous circulation failed, a code was called and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (“ECMO”) was deployed. Subsequently, the newborn was transported to the PICU for further management. During her admission to the PICU, the newborn was placed on continuous EEG monitoring secondary to cardiac arrest and ECMO which showed electrographic seizure activity requiring anti-epileptic medication. Brain imaging showed significant injuries consistent with hypoxic-ischemic damage. As a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ negligent actions and omissions, today the child continues to suffer from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, among other permanent and catastrophic injuries and damages.

The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of University of Maryland Medical Center and its employees in allowing an air embolism to enter the child’s body.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.

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