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Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit Alleges Hospital Negligence

birth injury malpractice lawsuitA birth injury malpractice lawsuit has been filed by a Pittsburg mother whose child suffered brain damage as a result of deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process. The mother’s labor was allowed to continue for 27 hours despite concerns about shoulder dystocia (the child becoming lodged in the birth canal) and despite the fact that fetal heart monitor indicated the infant was in distress.

The plaintiff, Jennifer Lattaker, alleges that the failure to provide proper care during delivery was a medical error. She is suing the attending doctor and Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC for hospital negligence.

Birth injury malpractice lawsuit allegations

Ms. Lattaker was a healthy young woman with no pre-existing medical conditions who followed prenatal care instructions and who had four ultrasounds during her pregnancy showing a normal infant. At 35-weeks gestation, she experienced a spontaneous rupture of membranes and went to Magee Women’s Hospital where she was induced to begin labor. She arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m.

The plaintiff remained in labor for 27 hours after being admitted to the hospital and by 9:34 a.m. the following morning, her doctor made a note on her chart regarding potential loss of variability and a fetal heart beat that was “less reassuring.”  A plan for expedited delivery was formed, but the fetal heart rate shortly reflected no reassuring characteristics and a subsequent note on the patient’s chart indicated that a repositioning of the patient did not evoke a response in the fetal heart rate.

At 9:44 a.m. on the morning after her labor had begun, the plaintiff’s chart reflects the probable need for an emergency Cesarean section.  Yet, despite both the anesthesiologist and a nurse noting that the plan was a “probable emergent” Cesarean and a “hurry-up” Cesarean, the doctor attempted a forceps delivery in the operating room.  Only after the forceps delivery failed did the doctor finally perform a C-section.

After the birth, the infant showed signs of birth trauma, trauma from the failed forceps delivery and birth asphyxia (an absence of oxygen during birth). The infant has since been diagnosed with development delay, cerebral palsy, respiratory distress syndrome, and a host of other health problems that will impact him for the rest of his life.  The plaintiff believes the doctor and hospital are responsible for these injuries and is seeking to hold the hospital responsible in her birth injury malpractice lawsuit.

Hospital negligence cited in lawsuit

The plaintiff has put forth many explanations for why she believes hospital negligence caused her son to suffer impairments. Allegations of medical negligence stem from a failure to delivery the baby in a timely manner; failure to recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress; and failure to perform a Cesarean section in at timely manner.

The plaintiff also claims that the hospital itself was negligent because it failed to ensure that the staff and personnel were properly trained and qualified. In addition to its own negligence, the hospital could also be held responsible for the actions of the doctor, who was an employee at the time he delivered the baby. Vicarious liability or agency rules make employers accountable in a birth injury lawsuit  for actions of their employees performed as part of the employee’s official job capacity.

The plaintiff will have the burden of proving that the hospital and doctor failed to fulfill their obligations to her and to her son. If the hospital and doctor are found to be negligent, they will be made to pay damages for all losses caused by their failures.