Newborn Brain Injury Due to Delayed Delivery
Lawsuit against Northwest Community Hospital | June 14, 2023
On June 14, 2023, WVFK&N attorneys John LaMantia and Soobin Lee filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a baby who suffered an avoidable brain injury.
The complaint alleges that at approximately 8:15 a.m. of June 1, 2016, the baby’s mother was admitted into labor and delivery of Northwest Community Hospital for a planned induction secondary to her status post-date and became under the care of an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Richard Levy, M.D. The baby’s mother was at 41 weeks and 3 days gestation. A sterile vaginal examination (SVE) was performed showing the cervix to be 2.5 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at -2. The fetus was noted to be in a cephalic presentation and the position of the fetal head was not defined.
At approximately 9:43 a.m., a Foley catheter was placed through the cervix by a Certified Nurse-Midwife and inflated with 80 cc of sterile water. Dr. Levy’s plan was for induction with a combination of mechanical ripening and Pitocin. At approximately 12:30 p.m., the Foley balloon was expelled and the SVE showed the cervix to be 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at -2. At approximately, 2:45 p.m., the baby’s mother reported feeling fluid leaking. The sterile speculum exam (SSE) showed intact membranes and the cervix to be at 7 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at -2. At approximately 4:06 p.m., the spontaneous rupture of the membranes occurred with clear fluid and SSE showed the cervix to be at 7-8 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be -2.
At approximately 4:40 p.m., Pitocin was discontinued because of excessive contraction frequency
and early decelerations presented on fetal heart strips. At approximately 5:20, SVE showed the cervix to be 8 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at -1 and the Pitocin remained off.
At approximately 8:00 p.m., SVE showed the cervix to be 9 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at 0. At approximately 9:00 p.m., SVE showed the cervix to be 9.5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at 0. At approximately 9:05 p.m., Pitocin was finally restarted. At approximately 11:16 p.m., SVE showed the cervix to be 9.5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at +1. Despite the prolonged first stage of labor, Dr. Levy did not recognize a primary protraction disorder in the first stage of labor and the potential for a prolonged second stage of labor.
On June 2, 2016, at approximately 12:15 a.m., SVE showed the cervix to be completely dilated, 100% effaced, and the station of the fetal head to be at +2. At approximately 12:16 a.m., baby’s mother began pushing and the pushing continued with apparent progress and fetal descent until 3:00 a.m. At approximately 3:18 a.m., Dr. Levy was contacted by the Certified Nurse-Midwife and agreed on a plan to continue to push. At approximately 4:20 a.m., Dr. Levy was informed of the poor progress and was in route to assess the baby’s mother. At approximately 4:45 a.m., the Certified Nurse-Midwife made a note that there had been little progress with labor in the last hour. Despite the little or lack of progress, Dr. Levy failed to recognize a prolonged second stage of labor. At approximately 5:35 a.m., Dr. Levy was at bedside assessing the baby’s mother and the position of the fetal head was defined as Occiput Posterior or the baby’s head facing the mother’s front for the first time on the record.
At approximately, 6:22 a.m., a Kiwi Omni Cup vacuum device was applied by Dr. Levy. Multiple attempts were made to deliver the head over an ill-defined period. The vacuum cup popped off three times and attempts to place a different vacuum device were not successful. After failing to effect a delivery with the use of two vacuum devices, Dr. Levy had the baby’s mother push until 7:45 a.m. before calling a cesarean section.
At approximately 8:26, the delivery was completed by cesarean section. The first stage of labor lasted for 11h 45 min from 6cm to complete. The second stage of labor lasted 7h 30 min from beginning pushing at 12:16 a.m. until a Cesarean Section being called at 7:45 a.m.
The baby was born with an Apgar scores of 8 and 9 at one and five minutes. The cord blood gases indicated a pH of 7.24 and a base excess of 7.5. The evaluation of the baby showed an 8cm posterior scalp abrasion and significant subcutaneous edema and bogginess of the skin throughout the scalp.
At 10.5 hours of life, the baby suffered a seizure and the CT scan obtained showed a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The baby had three more seizures at Northwest Community Hospital prior to transfer to Lurie Hospital at day one of life.
The baby had cephalohematoma and a subgaleal hemorrhage together with the subarachnoid hemorrhage requiring a platelet transfusion because of presumed consumptive thrombocytopenia secondary to the subgaleal hemorrhage and the cephalohematoma. As a result, the baby remains permanently and severely disabled with a Developmental Coordination Disorder.
The lawsuit alleges that the injuries were a result of the negligence of Northwest Community Hospital and its employees in failing to timely respond to concerning clinical signs and failing to timely deliver the baby and negligently attempting to deliver the baby with vacuum devices.
The action is pending in Cook County, Illinois.