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Stillbirth Malpractice Lawsuit Brought in Tennessee

baby reaching for fingerA medical malpractice complaint filed by Tennessee plaintiffs alleges medical negligence on the part of OBGYN staff and medical providers at Christ Community Health Services contributed to the fetal demise of their unborn son, who was delivered stillborn on August 18, 2012.

The birth injury lawsuit was brought in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, where the claimants are demanding compensatory damages in the amount of $3,500,000 to account for the emotional pain and suffering the parents have endured following the loss of their stillborn child. According to allegations, the mother carried the child to full term at 40 weeks and 5 days, at which time fetal death was noted after the mother experienced a suspected placental abruption.

Facts & allegations of stillbirth malpractice lawsuit

For her prenatal, delivery and post-natal care, the plaintiff was attended by medical providers at Christ Community Health Services, doing business as Broad Avenue Health Center. On August 15, 2012 she presented at the center with complaints of Primigravida and unrelenting abdominal pain. A day later she was told to report to the ER for evaluation of her complaints by her OB/GYN.  She told the ER she was due the prior day and was having contractions spaced 10 minutes apart.  According to the complaint, the care providers in the ER transferred the patient for continuing treatment to the Labor and Delivery ward to confirm that the plaintiff was indeed in active labor. The claimant says she requested an ultrasound and had the feeling something was wrong, but nonetheless was discharged with instructions to follow up with her doctor on August 20.

On August 17, still plagued with worsening pain, the plaintiff called Christ Community Health Services and spoke to the “after hours nurse” who told her to report to the Med in the event her symptoms became unbearable. She presented to the clinic at 7PM, at which time the staff conducted diagnostic studies that indicated her baby had died in utero.

The defendants are accused of medical negligence in that they allegedly failed to provide continuous fetal heart monitoring despite medical records that showed the baby was in distress with “questionable decelerations and non-reassuring decelerations” recorded on the fetal monitoring strips.

Fetal heart monitoring not performed consistently

The birth injury suit further contends that the mother plaintiff did not know or choose her treating doctors including the on-call physicians when she presented to The Med, but relied on the defendants to provide the “skilled and trained physicians, residents, nurses and other medical personnel/staff to treat her and her unborn son.”

Accordingly, the plaintiffs argue that the attending healthcare professionals who treated her during those critical days failed to act with ordinary and reasonable care in line with medical standards.

It is alleged that the defendants were negligent by:

  • Failing to appreciate the plaintiff’s worsening symptoms and repetitive late decelerations
  • Failing to admit the plaintiff to labor and delivery promptly
  • Negligently reading the baby’s fetal heart strops
  • Failing to appreciate the significance of the monitoring strips, which indicated fetal distress

Despite seeking counseling from family, the plaintiffs say they are still mourning the tragic loss of their unborn son, and have suffered emotionally and physically as a result of his demise.