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Grandmother, As Conservator, Brings Young Boy’s Birth Injury Claim

Birth asphyxia

A young Michigan boy born on June 13, 2011, is seeking redress for continuing injuries he suffered at birth and his grandmother is officially representing him in court.

The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan and names the United States as the sole defendant. The birth injury complaint alleges that the federal government is liable for the medical negligence of two certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and the practice that employed them. The plaintiff seeks more than $75,000 in compensation for medical expenses and ongoing damages such as the lost earning capacity of a child left with cognitive deficits.

Midwives allegedly improperly managed labor

According to the Michigan birth injury lawsuit, the plaintiff’s birth ordeal began on June 12, 2011, at 5:45 a.m., when his mother arrived at Lakeland St. Joseph in labor. She was more than 39 weeks pregnant and having contractions. An exam showed she was already dilated to 6 cm and her water broke while the nurses were checking her.

The mother was admitted for delivery but thirteen hours later, she was only dilated to 7 cm. By 8 p.m., the mother received an internal fetal monitor. The midwife on duty consulted the OB/GYN on call and noted that if labor had not progressed by 6 a.m., more than 24 hours after the mother’s arrival, she should be prepped for a cesarean delivery. Instead, the midwife ordered interventions, ignored drops in the baby’s heart rate, and allowed the mother to labor well past the deadline set by the OB/GYN.

Unfortunately, when he was born, the baby boy was not breathing and needed to be resuscitated and intubated. His APGAR score was 1 at one minute, improved to 5 at five minutes, and dropped back to 3 at ten minutes. He suffered severe fetal compromise, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) seizure disorder and developmental delay, all of which has left him with severe injuries, and neurologic deficiencies and resultant damages.

The plaintiff was transferred to the University of Michigan and there treated with therapeutic hypothermia to limit brain damage. After being hospitalized from June 13 2011, through June 17, 2011, he came home but the hospital cautioned his mother that the boy was at risk for complications related to his injury.

Experts blame birth injuries on medical malpractice

In accordance with Michigan rules, the plaintiff has already provided the court with affidavits of merit from a certified nurse midwife and a doctor. The affidavits swear that the signers believe the boy’s injuries were avoidable if only the midwives had met the standard of care. They both believe that the plaintiff would not have suffered oxygen deprivation and brain damage if the midwives had followed doctor’s orders to prepare for a cesarean if the mother’s labor had not advanced by 6 a.m. Both experts assert that the boy would be fine today if he had been born by c-section before 10 a.m.

About HIE

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a traumatic result of oxygen deprivation during delivery. Thought it is uncommon, it is serious and potentially fatal. Nearly 20% of the affected infants do not survive their first six weeks and another 25% permanent debilitating disorders like cerebral palsy and epilepsy. HIE can also lead to physical and cognitive disabilities.