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Failure to Hospitalize at Heart of Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

pregnant mother cradles belly

A mother and her young child have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against City Hospital, Inc., doing business as Berkeley Medical Center. Multiple other healthcare centers, healthcare systems and providers were named as defendants in the complaint. She claims that her child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a direct result of the defendants’ alleged negligence in failing to hospitalize her as indicated.

The birth injury lawsuit was filed on July 30, 2015 in the Berkeley Circuit Court. However, it was later removed to federal court in November 2015. The Honorable Judge Gina M. Groh is presiding over the case in the U.S. District Court for the West Virginia Northern District Court.

Alleged failure to hospitalize

The cerebral palsy lawsuit stems from incidents that began during the spring of 2013. On May 26, the mother presented at the Emergency Department of University Healthcare-City Hospital in Martinsburg. She reported suffering from vaginal bleeding at 24 weeks gestation. Her child’s fetal heart rate was recorded as 135. The plaintiff alleges that she was examined by a registered nurse and a certified nurse midwife. She was briefly admitted to the hospital, given a medication, and discharged.

The mother returned to the healthcare center just three days later, complaining that she was still suffering from vaginal bleeding and had noted the passing of large clots. Her medical records indicated that the cause of the bleeding was unknown at that time. The plaintiff underwent diagnostic imaging studies, which allegedly revealed that the baby was in a breech position and that the placenta was low. The mother also reported pain and pressure-like sensations. However, the defendants failed to hospitalize her at that time.

Two days later, on May 31, the mother returned to the hospital seeking care for her continued vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. Her heart rate was recorded as elevated and the fetal heart rate was 130 to 140. A regular contraction pattern was recorded. The lawsuit claims that the defendants again failed to hospitalize her. Instead, she received a medication to reduce the contractions. The healthcare providers decided to wait to review her case until the high-risk case meeting the following week.

Finally, on June 3, the plaintiff went to a different medical center. At Winchester Medical Center, her providers determined that she would undergo a C-section at 25 weeks and three days gestation. Unfortunately, the decision came too late for the minor plaintiff. The child was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and other unspecified injuries.

Complications associated with cerebral palsy

The medical malpractice lawsuit demands that the defendants be held liable for failing to hospitalize her on two separate occasions and for failing to refer her care to a physician despite being considered a high-risk case. The plaintiff further demands that the nurses and midwives be held liable for failing to advocate for her and her child’s healthcare needs.

The details of the birth injury were not disclosed. However, it’s likely that the plaintiff is suing for the compensation that is typically needed to provide a lifetime of care to a child who is severely disabled. Patients with cerebral palsy range widely in their limitations; however, it’s possible for the neurological disorder to cause reduced ability or an inability to walk, difficulty swallowing, speech delays, and intellectual disabilities.