A federal medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in late September 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, naming the United States as the defendant pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that the negligent medical care received by the plaintiff during her labor and delivery at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California led to her baby suffering a severe and permanent brain injury at birth.
The plaintiff had a history of two prior premature births when she arrived at the San Diego Naval Medical Center on February 26, 2013, at which time she was 33.5 weeks pregnant. Her history of two prior premature births and her then current medical condition (she had vaginal bleeding for four hours, she had contractions for two hours, and she noticed a decline in her fetus’ movement before she arrived at the Naval Medical Center, according to her federal medical malpractice lawsuit) resulted in the plaintiff’s pregnancy being considered high-risk at that time.
According to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit, despite her medical caregivers’ knowledge that she was a high-risk pregnancy, the Naval Hospital’s medical staff negligently failed to continuously monitor her medical status and her baby’s medical status. During the morning on February 28, 2013, the plaintiff alleges that her medical caregivers recognized by 8:00 a.m. that she needed to be delivered immediately but the Cesarean section surgery did not occur until 10:45 a.m.
Because of the unnecessary and unexplained delay in performing the Cesarean section delivery, the baby was diagnosed at birth with HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy), leading to permanent brain damage and physical and mental deficits, according to the plaintiff’s federal medical malpractice lawsuit.
The plaintiff is seeking $15 million from the United States in compensatory damages for her child and herself. The plaintiff alleges that her child’s severe and permanent disabilities and deficits will last her child’s entire lifetime and will require life-long medical and attendant care. As a result of the child’s hypoxic brain injury, the child will be unable to be gainfully employed; the plaintiff’s claim for compensation includes a claim for the child’s loss of earning capacity and loss of future wages.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Perinatal asphyxia (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) is characterized by clinical and laboratory evidence of acute or subacute brain injury due to asphyxia, the primary causes of which are systemic hypoxemia and/or reduced cerebral blood flow. Birth asphyxia causes 840,000 (23%) of all neonatal deaths worldwide.
All of the following must be present for perinatal asphyxia severe enough to result in acute neurologic injury: profound metabolic or mixed acidemia (pH less than 7) in an umbilical artery sample (if obtained); persistence of an Apgar score of 0-3 for longer than 5 minutes; neonatal neurologic sequelae, such as seizures, coma, and hypotonia; and, multiple organ involvement, such as kidney, lungs, liver, heart, and intestines.
If your loved one suffered a birth injury in California or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a California birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.