Labor and delivery can be a stressful time for Florida parents-to-be. Most births result in healthy babies, but some babies can be born with a variety of medical conditions. Some of these health issues are caused by negligence on behalf on the medical staff. This was the case for a Pennsylvania girl born with brain damage. After the unborn baby’s heartbeat suddenly plummeted, nurses failed to inform the doctor. Her parents filed a medical malpractice suit and were recently awarded $32.8 million.
The girl’s mother went into labor on Nov. 13, 2009. There were no issues during the pregnancy. However, during labor, the baby’s heartbeat dropped from 150 to 60 beats per minute. Two nurses noticed this but did not tell the doctor. The doctor came into the room 13 minutes later and noticed the drop. She instructed the nurses to get an anesthesiologist so she could perform a Caesarean section.
The anesthesiologist was not found until 16 minutes later. The girl was not delivered until 42 minutes after the drop in heartbeat. Expert witnesses say that if the girl was delivered “15 to 17 minutes earlier,” she likely would not have suffered any brain damage at all.
The girl, now 4 years old, cannot walk or talk well. She cannot control her neck and suffers from spasms in her limbs. Her parents are working with her to improve her skills, and the award will ensure she gets the help she needs.
Mistakes happen in the medical field, but this was a situation that could have been avoided. The nurses should have been concerned about the drop in heartbeat and summoned the doctor immediately. Their negligence has caused the girl to suffer lifelong health issues.
Source: Delco Times, “Jury gives $32.M to girl in Chesco medical malpractice case” Michael P. Rellahan, Jan. 22, 2014