$8.7 Million | Neonatal Brain Damage from Delayed Delivery and Infection
The birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh, P.C. secure a $3.5 million settlement (total annuity payout: $8.7 million) for a child with cerebral palsy, permanent brain damage, physical limitations and cognitive impairments from medical malpractice. The team found that the medical personnel responsible in this case failed to properly treat a maternal infection and deliver the baby on time.
The Case: Medical Malpractice Causes Birth Injury
The mother, a compliant patient, obtained insurance and began prenatal care at 17 weeks of gestation. During a prenatal appointment at 31 6/7 gestational weeks, medical personnel performed an ultrasound and discovered shortened cervical length. The mother was then noted to be at risk for preterm labor, and she was admitted to the hospital for two days. In the hospital, medical professionals found an old cervical laceration, which presumably came from a prior late-term abortion. The mother’s vaginal discharge also showed evidence of infection. The mother received complete courses of prenatal steroids to mature the baby’s lungs in case of premature birth, and she was sent home with orders for bed and pelvic rest. The mother was compliant throughout these treatments.
Three days after being released from her first hospital visit, the mother presented to the hospital again reporting frequent urination, thicker vaginal discharge and cloudy urine. Exams revealed the presence of white blood cells in her mucous and contamination from vaginal discharge. Instead of prescribing the mother an antibiotic to treat vaginal and cervical infection, doctors administered antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection (UTI). She was then sent home.
Three days later, at 32 5/7 gestational weeks, the mother returned to the hospital reporting contractions and leaking fluid. Medical personnel determined her white blood cell count to be high and admitted her to the hospital under the care plan to deliver if signs or symptoms of chorioamnionitis (intra-amniotic infection) presented. Four days after admission to the hospital, doctors ordered a C-section delivery due to fetal tachycardia (an abnormal increase in fetal heart rate), as well as decreased fetal heart rate variability. At this point, signs of chorioamnionitis had been present for two days.
The baby was admitted to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) after delivery, where neuroimaging revealed neonatal brain injury. Placental exams performed after delivery revealed the presence of infection in the placenta and umbilical cord. The infection moved from the cervix, through the amniotic fluid, to the placenta and umbilical cord, and finally to the baby. The child will go on to live with permanent physical and cognitive impairments including cerebral palsy (CP), brain damage, cortical blindness and epilepsy.
The Verdict: Michigan Birth Injury Attorneys Win $8.7 Million for Baby with Brain Damage and Disabilities
Reiter & Walsh, P.C. attorneys Jesse M. Reiter, Rebecca S. Walsh and Emily G. Thomas argued that health care providers from the mother’s three separate hospital admissions failed to communicate with each other to obtain records regarding the mother’s prior admissions, thereby failing to recognize and address clear signs and symptoms of vaginal and cervical infection, intra-amniotic infection (chorioamnionitis) and the need for earlier delivery. The defense argued that medical personnel met care standards and that there was no early indication that early delivery should take place.
Reiter & Walsh, P.C. secured $3.5 million (total annuity payout: $8.7 million) in compensatory damages from medical providers at the defendant health care centers.
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