Failure to Perform a C-Section Quickly After Placental Abruption Caused Infant Oxygen Deprivation and Cerebral Palsy
In one case, a hospital has admitted liability in the case of an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy whose condition was caused by complications during his birth. Daniel Spencer was born in 2001. His mother suffered a placental abruption during the delivery, which starved his brain of oxygen (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) and caused permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.
The dispute with the hospital has centred around how long it should have taken to make the decision to deliver Daniel after the complications were known. One expert stated that he would have performed the C-section in six minutes. In Daniel’s case it took 33 minutes.
The hospital and the family have agreed that a figure of 75% of the full liability is reasonable, avoiding the need for a trial that was scheduled for May. The judge for the case stated: “It is clear to me Daniel is a much-loved child but hard work. The money coming his way will go some way to help.”
Lawyers for both parties will now consult to decide how much the claim is worth, but the settlement is likely to run into the millions.
Woman Needed Emergency C-section for Placental Abruption; Hospital Dismissed Bleeding as Normal and Failed to Act
For years, Karen Smith blamed herself for the death of her baby because she made love to her husband while pregnant, and hours later, she experienced bleeding and cramps. Karen immediately went to the hospital, but the doctors dismissed her symptoms and told her it was normal to bleed after activities of this type. Hours later, she woke from emergency surgery and was told that her child had died and her uterus had been removed during a hysterectomy to save her life.
Karen’s son, Robert, weighed 4lbs, 8oz when he died in September 2008. But sex was not the cause of death. Karen had suffered a placental abruption, which experts say should have been spotted by medical professionals far earlier during routine appointments. Karen has recently accepted an undisclosed settlement from the hospital after it was proven her son could have survived if she’d been operated on sooner and had had a C-section.
Medical notes confirmed that the child died because he became detached from the placenta and was severely oxygen-deprived.
Karen told the press: “Everyone had been too quick to blame sex and missed the symptoms of something much more serious. I felt if they hadn’t been preoccupied with…sex, my son might have been saved.”
Infant Suffers Permanent Brain Damage After Having Seizures During Birth
In another case, Brandon Morgan will need lifetime care after mother Emma was sent home with a misdiagnosis for abdominal pain. Hours later, she needed an emergency C-section after he became separated from the placenta, starving his brain of oxygen.
Emma arrived at the hospital at 6 p.m. on July 19th last year. She was 30 weeks pregnant, and (because of her medical history) was considered at high risk of placental abruption. An obstetric doctor was called an hour later, but Emma was not seen until 10 p.m.
She said she was not referred to a consultant and not scanned, despite the warning signs of similar pain at the birth of her second child, and despite these details in her records. At about 10:30 p.m., Emma was sent home. “They said I wasn’t in labor and to return the next day for an emergency scan,” said Emma.
“At 5:30 p.m., I was walking up and down my mum’s living room in severe pain. I collapsed and was rushed to hospital. The doctor said I had placental abruption and might have to deliver him stillborn. I was terrified.” Brandon was born weighing 3lbs., 4oz. Emma said: “He started having seizures. He had an MRI scan and they confirmed brain damage.” A cluster of cysts have formed at the back of Brandon’s brain. He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and the cost of his care could run into the millions.
“The pains were the beginning of the placental abruption. If they’d scanned me and Brandon was born when I first went in, he probably wouldn’t have these problems,” said Emma.
Emma has begun legal proceedings against the hospital to help cover the lifetime cost of Brandon’s care.
Medical Negligence and Placental Abruption
If a patient has any of the risk factors for placental abruption, medical staff must carefully monitor the situation. If placental abruption occurs, it is crucial that treatment begins immediately. Failure to do this is negligence. If this negligence causes injury to the mother or baby, it is medical malpractice.
Reiter and Walsh ABC Law Centers have been helping families with birth injuries for many years. Contact our highly skilled attorneys for a free case review.