Articles Posted in C-Section Delay

Fort Campbell Hospital Birth Injury Ends With $15.1M Settlement birth injury at military base

On January 10, 2005, Kelly D. Wilson gave birth to her son at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fast forward to January 31, 2020, and the federal government agrees to award the Wilson and her family $15.1 million in damages to settle a lawsuit over the events that happened that day, fifteen years ago.

According to the lawsuit, when the Army veteran gave birth to her son in 2005, he “suffered a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury prior to delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy and lifelong neurological deficits.” And as a result of the brain injury, is now “wheelchair-bound, non-verbal and has involuntary movements and a seizure disorder.”

wrongful death c-section

Mom Dies After Routine Caesarean Section, and Dad Sues Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is facing national backlash after a woman internally bled to death after giving birth to her baby boy. The woman’s husband is now suing the hospital and pushing for policy changes and raising awareness of the U.S. maternal mortality crisis and birth-related injuries to mom and baby. The U.S. has remained the only developed country with a rising death rate for pregnant or new mothers for more than a decade.

The woman’s husband, Charles Johnson, says doctors told them the birth would be a routine Caesarean section, but soon after, he started noticing worrisome issues. According to a February 18, 2020 news interview between Johnson and CNN:

Birth Asphyxia

3 Types of Asphyxia Related Childbirth Injuries

Some of the most traumatic injuries that arise during childbirth are those that affect the baby’s brain. Asphyxia is an irreversible event that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended time prenatally, intrapartum, or postnatally and results in abnormal neurologic function in a newborn. The harm can be incredibly debilitating and impact the child’s suffering for the remainder of their life.

When medical provider negligence is involved in a childbirth-related injury, it is likely due to a failure to monitor the fetus and respond to distress or diagnose a potential delivery issue. Many birth injury lawsuits have been filed because of these unfortunate labor and delivery events.

After a healthy pregnancy, the parents of baby Earl Reese-Thornton, Jr. expected to leave North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida after the delivery of a healthy baby boy in December 2013. Instead they are facing the heartbreaking reality that all of their lives have been forever changed by a doctor’s incompetence during delivery. During the 90 minutes before Earl was finally born, Dr. Ata Atogho forced a vaginal delivery by administering pitocin (a labor inducing drug), despite the fact that his mother’s stalled labor was causing the baby distress and called for an emergency C-Section. Instead, Dr. Atogho left Earl’s mother, Marla Dixon, laboring while he delivered another baby and carried on a phone call with his investment advisor. When Earl was finally born, it was clear he had suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen and required resuscitation.

Falsifying Documents and Government Responsibility

Dr. Atogho documented in Ms. Dixon’s chart that he offered her a C-Section and that she refused. Ms. Dixon stated that Dr. Atogho had never mentioned the possibility of a C-Section and that she had even asked for one and was denied, a story which the labor and delivery nurse at Ms. Dixon’s beside corroborated.

Did you know that roughly 7 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States is born with a birth injury. Many of these birth injuries are unpredictable. What appears to be a happy and healthy fetus may result in pregnancy complications, negligence at the hands of others, or illness. However, one factor that is a recurring theme in birth injuries is weight.

The weight of the mother often serves as a good predictor of likelihood of a birth injury. Obesity and BMIs of greater than 40 are commonly connected with birth injuries. Often times, obese mothers do not get the right vitamins, nutrients, and exercise to remain healthy and develop strong, healthy babies. In addition, obese mothers experience higher frequencies of induction of labor. This results in higher rates of instrumental deliveries in obese women. Instrumental deliveries may include, for instance, the obstetrician using forceps or a vacuum to aid in delivery. By applying instruments and force, the risk of birth injury due to negligence increases tenfold.

C-Section Problems

A story last month from the Oregonian discusses a high-profile birth injury case filed by a hospital following a traumatic birth that left a child severely injured. The issues present in this case are similar to those faced by families in our areas.

The Situation

The story notes that the mother in the case knew early on that her son was in the “breech-birth” position. That is when the child is positioned in the womb to be delivered feet first, instead of head first. The feet first alignment is far more dangerous that the traditional head first delivery. As a result, mothers in that position most often deliver via Cesarean section. That is what was planned in this case as the mother already had a C-section scheduled.

As we have previously discussed, determining when a delivery should proceed through a vaginal birth or Cesarean section-either planned or emergency-is one of the most critical decisions that must be made by an expectant mother and her medical team. C-section rates in the United States are currently approximately 31%, indicating that doctors are increasingly taking a cautious approach to avoid the risks to a mother and baby that may result from a vaginal birth.

Risks from a C-section

However, although they are currently the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States, C-sections still present certain risks, which can increase significantly with each repeat C-section. For some women, repeat C-sections can result in a weakened uterine wall, which may cause problems in later pregnancies; complications with the placenta in later pregnancies, such as placenta accreta or placenta previa, which can lead to hemorrhaging by the mother or require early delivery of the baby and resultant issues; or injuries to the bladder. In extreme cases, a C-section may result in heavy bleeding that can be controlled only through a hysterectomy. Moreover, because doctors generally advise that a woman have no more than three C-sections, a C-section may impact the number of children that a couple can have. Expectant mothers should therefore be comfortable that the risks of proceeding with a vaginal delivery outweigh the risks of the C-section itself.

The Morning Call reported earlier this month on the end of a trial in a birth injury case. The matter went all the way to the jury which eventually returned a verdict for the plaintiff. As a result, a mother and her daughter–born with cerebral palsy–was awarded $4 million. The facts of the case are somewhat similar to many that our attorneys have seen over the years, with negligence of the same type affecting families in Chicago and Illinois.

The Case

Per the details outlined in the story, the birth in question occurred over four years ago. The mother went into labor in August of 2009, but during the middle the labor stalled. The baby was quite large, a fact that was the doctor and other members of the medical team. In fact, an ultrasound taken just days before the birth revealed that the child weighed 10 pounds–that is an incredible amount for a birth.

If you happened to search Google over the last week for any phrase including “birth” or “childbirth,” your results were likely overwhelmed by one story: the birth of baby George in England. The child, born to Kate Middleton and Prince William has the official name Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. He is now third in line to the British throne. Of course, the royal family has attained celebrity status in the United States and throughout the world, and news of his birth was following closely by billions of people.

But believe it or not, the royal birth is also being used for something besides Facebook-fodder. An Inquisitr article last week discussed the cost of baby George’s birth and compared it with the same procedures here in the United State. The difference is staggering and a reminder of the persistent pricing problems for medical care in America.

Cost of Childbirth

The variety of medical malpractice cases is more extensive than most imagine. Considering the total number of births that occur each year, many somewhat unique cases of mistakes, confusion, and preventable harm will occur. That is not to say that there are not clear legal trends when it comes to types of malpractice that lead to lawsuits and accountability. For example, delayed C-sections and use of excessive force are likely the two types of professional negligence that most often lead to the filing of an actual birth injury lawsuit. That is probably because those injuries are the most common, can often be proven in court, and come with significant consequences for those affected requiring compensation

Unique Birthing Malpractice

While excessive force and oxygen deprivation resulting in the development of cerebral palsy are the birth injuries that often make-up newspaper headlines and blog posts–there are others.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers