On June 3, 2021, a federal West Virginia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict against Raleigh General Hospital and the United States in the amount of $10.8 million for the hypoxic brain jury suffered by a newborn at a West Virginia hospital which led to cerebral palsy.
The Underlying Facts
A.H. is the daughter of Plaintiffs Ryan and Crystal Hysell. A.H. was born at Raleigh General Hospital (“Raleigh General”) on October 29, 2010. The Hysells alleged that Raleigh General employees failed to properly respond to a fetal monitor warning of irregularities during the birthing process and failed to identify (or negligently omitted or misled the Hysells as to) brain abnormalities resulting from hypoxemia during birth.
At the time of delivery, Mrs. Hysell was forty-one weeks pregnant. Labor lasted approximately ten hours. Mrs. Hysell was actively pushing for the last two hours. Approximately five minutes before A.H. was delivered, Debra Crowder, a certified nurse midwife employed by Access Health, noted that the cord was impeding delivery and took steps to reposition A.H.
During the delivery, Mrs. Hysell’s oxygen saturation level (“Sa02”) was between 86% and 87%. Following birth, A.H.’s first APGAR score at one minute was a 7, which indicated deficits in respiratory effect, muscle tone, and color. A.H.’s second APGAR score at five minutes was an 8. Approximately ten minutes after delivery, A.H. was given blow-by oxygen and bulb suction, bringing her Sa02 level up to an acceptable level (at least 85%) from 68%. A.H. was taken to the nursery and given oxygen via a face mask, along with deep suctioning which produced thick mucus. A.H.’s Sa02 levels did not reach a normal threshold until after these two more intensive actions were deployed. A.H. was not returned to the Hysells until four hours after birth and was not seen by a pediatrician until the day after her birth,
Throughout her life, A.H. consistently failed to meet developmental milestones. Her parents embarked on a quest to determine the underlying cause. For example, A.H. was given an MRI that was reported as normal. As a result of the “normal” MRI, however, the Hysells obtained genetic and other testing. In March 2016, A.H. was diagnosed with a global developmental delay. The same month, another MRI revealed periventricular white matter gliosis, or low white matter volume. Upon a more careful review, the earlier MRI exhibited the same abnormalities. Ultimately, A.H. was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder.
On October 23, 2018, the Hysells, on behalf of A.H., instituted their West Virginia medical malpractice action against Raleigh General. On March 11, 2019, the United States moved to substitute itself as the party Defendant in lieu of Access Health and Debra Crowder. The motion was predicated on Access Health and Debra Crowder being deemed federal employees by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. On July 16, 2019, the Court dismissed Access Health and Debra Crowder, substituting the United States in their steads.
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor and/or delivery or shortly after birth in West Virginia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a West Virginia birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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