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Ignored signs of fetal distress result in baby's brain damage

When an expectant mother goes to the hospital in Atlanta to have her baby, she expects that she will be properly monitored and cared for in order to have the smoothest delivery possible. She places a lot of trust in the hands of her medical team who cares for her and has the right to believe they will do their job. In a majority of cases, deliveries are handled with professionalism and care, but in instances where someone drops the ball, serious consequences can occur.

This seems to be the case for two nurses who failed to properly monitor a laboring mother. As a result, the baby was born with brain damage and now suffers with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

The trouble began on November 15, 2009 at around 1:07 a.m. as the mother was laboring in the hospital. It is believed that the baby’s umbilical cord became kinked, causing a decrease in the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain. As a result, the baby’s heart rate dropped considerably. Although two nurses saw the drop on a monitor, they did not notify the woman’s doctor.

When the doctor went to check on the woman at around 1:20 a.m., she noticed the change and told the nurses she needed to perform an emergency C-section. She asked them to contact their supervisor and get an anesthesiologist to come. This call was delayed and as a result, the baby was not delivered until 1:49 a.m., about 42 minutes after the first signs of distress were monitored.

The baby’s family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and were recently awarded $32.8 million by a jury who heard the case.

Source: Daily Local News, “Update: Phoenixville Hospital hit with $32M negligence verdict after girl born with brain damage,” Michael P. Rellahan, Jan. 22, 2014

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