ABC Law Centers secured a $42 million judgement for a child with cerebral palsy, brain damage, developmental delays, and learning disabilities from medical malpractice. The team found that the obstetrician responsible for this case failed to properly treat maternal infections, leading to infection and brain damage in the baby.
Failure to Treat Maternal Infections Causes Birth Injury
A mother with a history of prior preterm delivery and umbilical cord prolapse began her prenatal care with an Ob/Gyn at 8 weeks gestation. 29 weeks into her pregnancy, this mother was admitted to the hospital with extremely premature labor. During her hospital stay she received medications to mature the baby’s lungs and stop her contractions and cervical dilatation. Over the course of her 39-hour stay at the hospital, the mother did not receive antibiotics for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria, which is routinely administered to mothers in preterm labor to prevent GBS infection of the fetus.
The mother’s Ob/Gyn ordered lab tests, and the results indicated that the mom had an E. Coli urinary tract infection (UTI). Lab results also showed she was positive for GBS bacteria. The obstetrician failed to follow up on these abnormal findings. As a result, she was not given antibiotics for either condition.
The mother followed up as directed with her Ob/Gyn six days after her hospital visit. She had complaints of frequent urination. Upon examination by the Ob/Gyn, the mother’s water was noted to be broken, and she was sent immediately to the hospital, where she delivered her child by C-section at 29 weeks, 6 days gestation.
After the birth of her baby, tests on the placenta revealed the presence of intrauterine infection (chorioamnionitis) and GBS bacteria. The presence of E. Coli bacteria also could not be ruled out. The newborn baby was admitted to the neonatal ICU for prematurity, and was subsequently noted to have brain damage on head imaging.
Due to the failure of providers to treat the mother’s infections, her cervix began to dilate prematurely and the infection spread to her child. Had these infections been treated properly and in a timely manner, the baby would not have been exposed to this harmful bacteria in utero, and would not have suffered consequent brain damage.
Due to these untreated infections, this child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. The mother and her legal team argued that healthcare providers were required to give antibiotics upon the mother’s admission to the hospital with preterm labor, and again upon discharge when abnormal lab results indicated the presence of an E. Coli urinary tract infection.