On June 19, 2015, after a two-week trial and three and a half hours of deliberations, an Alabama medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants. The case involved the birth injuries suffered by a now 11-year-old boy who sustained a brain injury due to alleged medical negligence during labor and delivery. The medical malpractice defendants included an Alabama hospital, three labor and delivery nurses, and the physician who delivered the baby.
The Underlying Facts
The baby’s mother was 41 weeks pregnant when she went to the defendant Alabama hospital shortly after midnight on February 16, 2004. At 1:30 a.m., her physician placed a cranial electrode on the baby’s head and determined that the baby was having mild variable fetal heart rate decelerations. The physician ordered an epidural injection for the woman and then left the hospital for the night.
At 5:10 a.m., the fetal heart rate monitoring showed increasing decelerations and the physician was called, who ordered fluid to be pumped into the woman’s uterus to relieve pressure on the baby’s umbilical cord.
At 5:24 a.m., the decelerations continued and the physician was requested to come to the woman’s room. The physician arrived in the woman’s room at 5:28 a.m., and the physician delivered the baby by vaginal delivery with the assistance of obstetrical forceps at 5:49 a.m.
The baby had a small, thin umbilical cord wrapped around his body and was floppy and not breathing at birth. He was resuscitated and placed in a warmer (a nurse attempted to insert a breathing tube into the newborn that had to be reinserted). The baby was sent to the nursery, where his color changed from pink to dusky. A physician determined that the breathing tube was improperly placed in the baby’s esophagus, removed the tube, and correctly reinserted the breathing tube.
The Alabama birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in 2008, alleging that the nurses should have called the physician as soon as they observed the decelerations and that they should have insisted that the physician immediately return to the hospital, where an emergency Cesarean section delivery should have occurred, which would have avoided the baby’s brain injury. The plaintiffs further alleged that the nurse who had initially intubated the baby had failed to do so properly, and that an experienced physician should have performed the intubation.
The defendants argued that the nurse who had intubated the baby was well-trained and qualified to perform the intubation, that variable decelerations are often seen in deliveries, and that it was not negligence to deliver the baby by vaginal delivery (arguing that it takes at least 30 minutes for an emergency Cesarean section delivery in a hospital setting (from the time that the decision to perform the procedure is made until the time of the initial incision), and that it only took 17 minutes to perform the vaginal delivery once the physician arrived at the woman’s room).
If you or a loved one suffered a birth injury in Alabama or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer, or a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to find birth injury lawyers in Alabama, or birth injury lawyers in your state, who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.