Newborn Brain Injury Due to Delayed Delivery
Lawsuit Against Emory University Hospital Midtown
On October 19, 2022, WVFK&N attorneys Brian Cathell and Catherine Spalluzzi filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a newborn who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that on October 19, 2020, the mother was admitted to the Emory University Hospital Midtown at 38 weeks’ gestation for a planned induction. The medical records indicate various and conflicting indications for the planned induction, including chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and morbid obesity. Induction began on October 19, 2020, at 13:24. At the time, the mother’s cervix was unfavorable. She was 0 cm dilated, 20% effaced, with the baby at the -3 station. No fetal indications for delivery were indicated and all fetal testing and findings were noted to be reassuring. At 01:15 on October 20, 2020, the mother’s contractions increased in frequency to every 1.5-2 minutes with late decelerations and minimal variability. At 01:30, oxygen was given via non-rebreather mask. At 02:59 Pitocin was increased to 6 miu/min despite more frequent Category II fetal heart tracings. At 03:15, the medical chart indicates that Pitocin “remains at 6 milliunits per FHR tolerance and variability and ctx pattern.” At 03:56, Pitocin was increased to 8 miu/min. At 05:29, the mother was noted to be 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby was in the -1 station. One minute later, at 05:30, the membranes spontaneously ruptured with heavy, thick meconium present. The baby’s tracing returned to a Category II. Despite these findings, Pitocin was further increased to 10 miu/min at 05:39. The fetal heart rate remained a Category II with minimal variability and late decelerations. Despite this concerning pattern the Pitocin was continued. At 06:30, tracings continued to show a Category II with late decelerations and minimal variability. Pitocin was continued. At 06:30, tracings continued to show a Category II with late decelerations and minimal variability. The Pitocin was increased to 12 miu/min at 07:04. At 07:41, the mother was examined and was essentially unchanged at 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced and the baby was at the 0 station. Pitocin was continued despite the concerning fetal heart rate pattern. At 09:33 a nurse informed the doctor that the patient was 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced with the fetus in the +1 station. The medical chart indicates that the doctor’s response was that she was “in house” and to “call her when closer to delivery.” The doctor was called to deliver at 10:14. The baby was delivered on October 20, 2020, at 10:25. At delivery, he was blue/pale and floppy, with a weak, intermittent cry. The medical chart indicates that upon NICU admission the baby was severely acidotic, and his clinical examination showed severe encephalopathy. He was diagnosed with perinatal hypoxia and meconium aspiration syndrome. As a result, he underwent therapeutic hypothermia. The baby was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Emory University Hospital and its employees in failing to timely respond to concerning clinical signs and failing to timely deliver the baby.
The action is pending in the State Court for Dekalb County, Georgia.