While birth injury cases may be very difficult to prove, they are certainly not impossible. In one recent case, the mother of Baby D was represented by Brett Panter and David Sampedro of Panter, Panter & Sampedro after her baby was born in a community hospital under unfortunate circumstances that led to major health complications for the baby. Baby D was transferred to the ICU shortly after birth.
Soon after Baby D’s birth, doctors told the mother that her child suffered from end stage renal disease and that eventually Baby D would need a kidney transplant. In fact, nephrologist told her that Baby D would need at least two additional kidney transplants during his lifetime. In shock, she called Panter, Panter & Sampedro.
Baby D’s Story
The mom of Baby D was 39 weeks pregnant when she experienced sudden bright red bleeding. She wasted no time and called fire rescue who responded to her home at midnight. First responders rushed her to the hospital with lights and sirens. Medical personnel placed her on an electronic fetal heart monitor strip and the obstetrician was called. A Community Hospital did not have an obstetrician on staff. Technicians performed an initial biophysical profile. The test results returned within normal limits. The initial fetal monitor strip may have suggested a sinusoidal wave pattern. A sinusoidal wave pattern is an ominous sign requiring immediate attention. Nevertheless, approximately 3½ hours later the electronic heart monitor strips reflected late decelerations – another ominous sign. The nurse on call advised the treating obstetrician who immediately came to the hospital and performed an emergent cesarean section.
After the cesarean section doctors discovered a velamentous cord insertion which most likely resulted in the bleed witnessed by Baby D’s mom hours earlier. A velamentous cord is a congenital defect where the umbilical cord is not properly placed in the placenta and is often fragile. A velamentous cord insertion can cause bleeding which can quickly lead to a medical emergency. Nevertheless, Baby D was born with Apgar scores of 6 and 8, which are relatively good. Baby D did have a weak cry which required vigorous stimulation. Neonatologists transferred him to the newborn nursery. At that time the doctors and nurses thought he was doing well. However, approximately 27 minutes later his oxygen saturation levels began to decline and he was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In the coming days, Baby D experienced acidosis, DIC, thrombocytopenia, acute tubal necrosis, and was required to be transferred to Miami Children’s Hospital when his urine output indicated that he was suffering from kidney failure.
The Birth Injury Case
The Plaintiffs in this case alleged that the on call nurse failed to take an accurate history from the mother to discover the amount of bright red bleeding. Consequently, that nurse failed to give an accurate history to the treating obstetrician. Plaintiffs alleged that the history of significant bright red bleeding would have warranted the treating obstetrician to come to the hospital and perform an immediate cesarean section.
The defense alleged that the bleeding which Baby D’s mother experienced actually occurred
24 to 48 hours prior to the episode which was witnessed at home and that the blood had tamponaded. The defense alleged that Baby D’s medical condition further supported the fact that the injury had occurred 24 to 48 hours before birth and that the fetus had a sufficient amount of time to adapt to the blood loss and stabilize.
This case required many fields of medicine to prove both negligence and causation. Brett Panter and his partner, David Sampedro, hired experts from around the Country from the following fields of medicine: Nephrology; Neonatology; Obstetrics; Nursing; Placental Pathology; Fetal Monitor Specialist; Life Care Planning; and Economics.
Unfortunately, the costs of these cases are so often high that many cases go without representation. Fortunately for Baby D, Brett Panter and David Sampedro, with the backing of their law firm, prosecuted this case and brought it to trial.
The case proceeded to trial and during the jury selection process the case was settled for $2.75 million.
After settlements, a lawyer’s duty is not over.
Brett Panter and David Sampedro arranged to have appropriate specialists create a special needs trust to preserve the child’s Medicaid eligibility. Most of the funds were also annuitized for the protection of the minor so that they would be available and guaranteed throughout his life expectancy for as long as he lives.
*The names of the parties have been changed as a result of a Confidential Settlement Agreement.