Settlement for a Child with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Developmental Delays
The birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh, P.C. secured a settlement for a child with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), developmental delays, cognitive impairments, memory impairments, and delayed expressive and receptive language. The team found that the medical professionals responsible for this case failed to a.) recognize an arrest of labor, b.) recognize non-reassuring fetal monitoring strips, and c.) perform a timely C-section delivery.
An 18-year-old pregnant mother arrived at the hospital stating her water had broken; she was admitted to labor and delivery where her labor was managed by the midwives and nurses. A midwife began to augment the mother’s labor with Pitocin, a drug used to produce contractions and speed up the labor process. The mother began having frequent contractions, but she did not make progress in labor. Despite the fact that the fetal monitoring strips showed the baby was not tolerating labor well, the midwives did not alert the physician. After a significant period of time, the midwife began to contact several doctors. However, there is no indication that any doctor evaluated the mother, nor that these doctors were ever contacted by the midwife.
The next morning, the mom developed a fever. At this point, the fetal monitoring strips again indicated the baby was not tolerating labor well. In response, a physician ordered antibiotics for the mother but never appeared at the bedside for an evaluation. Finally, 24.5 hours after the mother arrived at the hospital, she was seen by a doctor, who indicated a C-section was necessary due to the non-reassuring fetal status. 15 minutes later, the baby’s heart rate crashed and an emergency c-section was called for.
In the operating room, the mother ended up delivering vaginally. When she was born, the baby was not breathing and was noticeably floppy. She had perinatal asphyxia, and head imaging showed findings consistent with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Currently, this child suffers from developmental delays, cognitive impairments, memory impairments, and delayed expressive and receptive language skills due to her traumatic birth. A careful review of her school records shows that she is behind in math, reading, and science.
The birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers argued that the midwives should have recognized the mother was not progressing in labor and that the baby was not tolerating labor well. Further, they stated that the midwives should have contacted the doctors much earlier and that when they were contacted, the doctors should have evaluated the mother. Lastly, our attorneys argued that a C-section delivery needed to be performed hours before the baby was delivered in order to prevent brain injury to the baby. In the end, this case resulted in a favorable settlement for this child and her family.
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