Untimely C-Section, Negligence Leads to Newborn Death, Suit Claims

Ava Lawson | March 21st, 2014 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit – Untimely C-Section, VBAC The United States of America and VHS West Suburban Medical Center are named as defendants in a recent birth injury malpractice lawsuit, alleging the wrongful death of a newborn child.

The case is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), where the mother plaintiff is seeking damages both individually and on behalf of the estate of her deceased son. Court documents indicate the mother is demanding $13 million in monetary damages.

Defendants charged with medical malpractice

The plaintiff accuses various health care professionals named as defendants of committing reckless and negligent acts and omissions during her delivery. Allegations state that Dr. Christine Swartz and Dr. Paul Luning, along with other attending physicians and nurses, failed in their duty to provide adequate medical care, diagnosis and treatment to the claimant.

Specifically, the lawsuit charges the defendants with the following:

  • Failing to perform a timely C-section
  • Failing to sufficiently evaluate the plaintiff prior to delivery
  • Failing to recognize the significance of the plaintiff’s cramps, ruptured membranes and contractions
  • Failing to adequately monitor fetal heart rate activity or react to non reassuring signs of fetal distress
  • Failing to appreciate the mother plaintiff’s VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) status
  • Failing to properly train staff employed by the institution
  • Failing, as an institution, to provide adequate resources and personnel in order to facilitate an emergency C-section in a timely manner

According to the complaint, after a lengthy labor that was not progressing as normal, even with a Pitocin IV, doctors began to perform a Cesarean section on the mother. It was during the C-section that the plaintiff suffered uterine rupture and lost significant blood. Her child was delivered, but appeared to be without a pulse.

The next day, on December 8, 2011, the infant was transferred to Children’s Memorial Hospital, where he died just eight days later.

Uterine rupture more common in VBAC deliveries

The minor decedent suffered “significant and irreversible injuries which ultimately resulted in his death on December 16, 2011,” argues the lawsuit.

Uterine rupture – a potentially fatal complication that can result in maternal or fetal death – is more prevalent among mothers who have had a previous Cesarean section, as was the case with this plaintiff. Abnormal fetal heart rate with rapid decelerations, or bradycardia (a slow heart rate), have been linked to uterine rupture. Additionally, risk for uterine rupture is reportedly higher when patients are given Pitocin to augment labor, according to studies.

Most cases are associated with the following complications:

  • Fetal distress
  • Protrusion or expulsion of the fetus and/or placenta into the abdominal cavity
  • Extensive uterine bleeding
  • Need for emergency Cesarean section delivery
  • Uterine repair or total hysterectomy

Sound legal advice for birth injury victims

The attorneys at Balkin & Eisbrouch understand the catastrophic ramifications of medical malpractice, and offer extensive experience successfully litigating such cases. If your child was harmed or suffered fatal injuries during the delivery process, we encourage you to contact us today for a confidential consultation at no charge to you. Our team will determine if you have grounds for seeking damages in a birth injury malpractice lawsuit.


  1. WEB MD, What is a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)? http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/vaginal-birth-after-cesarean-vbac-overview

  2. Medscape, Uterine Rupture in Pregnancy, http://reference.medscape.com/article/275854-overview