Birth Injuries Caused by Deadly Delays
CIA World Fact Book Reveals Shocking U.S. Infant Mortality Rate
Data from the 2013 to 2014 CIA World Fact Book, a trusted resource, shows that hospitals in the United States are among the most dangerous of developed countries in which to give birth. The infant mortality rate in the United States is 6.17 per 1,000 live births, placing the country behind Cuba with a rate of 4.7, Serbia 6.16, Lithuania 6.00, Croatia 5.87 and Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.84. Perhaps one of the most tragic aspects of birth injury and death related to medical errors is that the resulting injuries were preventable.
On January 31, 2014, a Court in West Chester, Pennsylvania, awarded $32.8 million to Lily Ciechoski, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Leslie Proffitt of North Coventry, mother of Lily, was taken to the Phoenixville Hospital on November 13, 2009, to give birth to her baby. After admission, the baby’s heart rate started to drop from 150 to 60 beats per minute as a result of a twist in the umbilical cord.
The attorney, Mr. Jason Archinaco, argued that because oxygen to the brain became blocked by a twist in the umbilical cord, the baby’s heart rate dropped. Two nurses, Lana Jones-Sandy and Christine Winter, noticed the drop at about 1:07 a.m. but failed to notify Dr. Amy Cardieux about the significant change. By the time the doctor saw the change at about 1:20 a.m., it was necessary to perform an emergency caesarean section delivery.
The doctor requested the two nurses to contact their supervisor and anesthesiologist immediately. The supervisor was contacted at 1:29 a.m., the anesthesiologist at 1:36 a.m. and Lily was delivered at 1.49 a.m. According to expert testimony presented at the trial, if the baby was delivered fifteen to seventeen minutes earlier, she would have suffered either no or minimal brain damage. Lily has trouble walking, has difficulty controlling her neck and can speak very little. The verdict enables Leslie Proffitt to provide Lily with the best possible care.
Newborn Screening Test and Deadly Delays
No one knew that Colton Hidde had a potentially fatal illness when he left the New London hospital shortly after he was born on October 2, 2012. A newborn screening test was taken after he was born, but it arrived at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene testing later than expected. According to the New London Family Medical Center, the blood sample was taken on October 4, 2012, and sent to Madison on October 8, 2012.
Before Colton reached the age of one, he had problems eating, and had difficulties defecating and urinating. A medical helicopter transported the little boy to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah for dialysis, which was not covered by the health insurance. Colton survived the experimental treatment by cooling his body down and protecting his brain from ammonia damage. By the time the state laboratory called Dr. Dimmock about the results of the newborn screening, the doctor already had Colton diagnosed with ammonia disorder. In Colton’s case, the blood test was in time, but they failed to send it in time.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that thousands of hospitals in the United States are sending newborn blood samples late to state laboratories and almost three percent of samples arrive five days or more after the blood has been collected. Blood should be drawn within the first day or two of life and received by the laboratory within three days in order to identify children with disorders.
Of Theda Clark’s 953 samples that were investigated, more than a hundred took five or more days to arrive. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation, Theda is recognized as the fourth worst hospital in the category of samples arriving late at the laboratory. Newborn screening results are not processed on weekends in 27 states of the United States.
Lack of Prenatal Care in Prison
Julia Nored was born with disabilities because of her mother’s lack of medical care while in prison. Marcquietta Nored, mother of Julia, was imprisoned on April 6, 2006, at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. A physical exam showed that Marcquietta suffered high blood pressure. The mother was given medication for asthma treatment, despite her elevated blood pressure and hypertension. On July 15, 2006, Julia Nored was born with a caesarean section.
Nored, now 47, filed a suit with the Ohio Courts of Claims in 2011, alleged the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction caused her child to be born with severe brain damage. Although the department admitted to no wrongdoing, it agreed to settle a lawsuit of $2.5 million. The plaintiff’s attorney said he believes the lack of medical care in the prison system is routine.
Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate that a third of the most common cause of death in the United States is due to doctor errors. Victims are often approached with a quick settlement offer to avoid lengthy litigation. Parents of a birth injury victim should be aware of the actual cost of raising a child with special needs.