Complaint Alleges Child Suffered Preventable Brain Injury

Stephanie Reid | March 9th, 2016 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

holding hands

On November 3, 2015, the grandparent-conservator of a young Michigan-area child filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the United States of America, alleging a number of errors and missteps in the delivery of her grandchild at the InterCare Community  Health Network (“InterCare”) hospital — which is an agent of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services.

In general, the complaint makes several allegations concerning the unnecessary delays in delivering the child, as well as several mentions of unverifiable evidence that was allegedly destroyed. In total, the conservator is seeking reasonable compensation for the child’s lifelong care, as well as attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses associated with the action. 

Details of birth injury complaint

In the wee hours of the morning of June 12, 2011, the child’s mother presented to InterCare in apparent labor. Following a routine examination, the mother was deemed to be dilated 5 centimeters, however she was having difficulty progressing past that point. According to medical charts, the Certified Nurse Midwife on duty instructed the nursing staff to watch her closely throughout the day, and to advise her should any issues arise. 

Over the course of the next 24 hours, the mother spiked a fever along with cramping in her arm and chest area. While the midwife was informed of this, there was allegedly nothing done to remedy or mitigate these symptoms, and the mother continued to labor. The mother was administered a second epidural for pain management, and was also fitted with an oxygen mask despite no order for such treatment by a doctor or midwife. 

As her labor progressed slowly, the mother was ultimately given Pitocin to speed up the process. After an episiotomy was performed, the child was finally delivered with notable signs of fetal distress, including: 

  • Nuchal cord noted as “snug” around the neck
  • Poor APGAR scores
  • Green fluid noted with delivery of baby’s lower torso
  • Poor tone and color
  • Need for “aggressive” resuscitative efforts 

From there, the child was transferred to two separate facilities for additional treatment, and was ultimately discharged with instructions to the family to closely monitor him for signs of complications. 

Diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

According to the chart record of the child’s birth, he was noted as “cyanotic with no respiratory effort.” The child was diagnosed with “hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy of newborn,” a condition which results in brain injury due to prolonged periods without oxygen. As well, the child was diagnosed with an acute kidney injury, sepsis and bradycardia — a condition which causes the heart to pump oxygen-poor blood to the body, often requiring the implantation of a pacemaker or the administration of similar cardiac therapy to increase the heart rate. 

Due to the severity of the child’s medical conditions, he is likely to require lifelong care and monitoring. As the basis of her claim, the child’s conservator asserts that — had the midwife arranged for an emergency C-section or properly monitored the child’s progress during delivery — the resulting injuries would not have occurred. Moreover, the complaint alleges that the child’s mother was never informed that her baby was in distress during the delivery process, resulting in severe emotional turmoil, fright, shock and mental anguish. 

Balkin & Eisbrouch offer expert legal representation to families affected by birth injury malpractice. Our legal team boasts a combined 40 years of experience litigating complex medical negligence cases. Call 1-855-60-BIRTH to discuss your options for legal recourse.

  1. US National Library of Medicine, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy in the Term Infant

  2. Mayo Clinic, Bradycardia