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Birth Injury Case Claims Negligence Resulted in Wrongful Death

pregnant woman undergoing ultrasoundA Maryland mother and father have recently filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging negligence during the birth of their infant daughter. Brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, the complaint details claims against Three Lower Counties Community Services, Inc. and Dr. Kelli Lutrell, M.D.

According to the birth injury lawsuit, serious errors and delays in assessment and treatment of a pre-term emergency lead to the rapid deterioration and death of their baby.

Key allegations in birth injury lawsuit

The complaint states that the plaintiff mother presented to the labor and delivery department of Peninsula Regional Medical Center on January 23, 2013 with severe vaginal bleeding, rupture of the amniotic sac and poor variability on fetal heart monitor tracings. At just twenty-seven weeks gestation, this presentation was consistent with dangerous placental abruption.

Despite the emergence of the hallmarks of a true obstetrical emergency requiring immediate intervention, the plaintiffs allege that Dr. Luttrell failed to identify the emergency nature of the situation, did not contact neonatology specialists and other staff and failed to call for an immediate Cesarean section delivery. After a delay of over three and a half hours following her initial presentation at the facility, the baby was delivered. It was quickly apparent that the infant had suffered prolonged hypoxia and serious harm that caused her death shortly thereafter.

Delays blamed for infant’s death

It is alleged that Dr. Luttrell failed to meet the prevailing standard of obstetrical care by failing to appreciate the severity of the emergency faced by the plaintiff mother. Because of the delays in assessment and Cesarean delivery of the infant, harm occurred from which the baby had little chance of recovering. The complaint argues that had Defendant Luttrell adhered to the applicable standard of care, the baby would have survived to go home with her parents who have since suffered tremendous psychological and emotional trauma. As a result of their injuries, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation in excess of $1 million.

Heart-wrenching impact of negligence during labor

In most cases, the process of labor and delivery goes smoothly and no injuries to the infant result. Sadly, there are numerous situations each year in which the physicians, assistants and other healthcare providers attending the births of children fail to meet the appropriate standard of medical care for the circumstances at hand. The results can be truly tragic for the infants themselves as well as the families they leave behind. What should be a time of great joy and excitement can quickly turn to one of emotional devastation and gut-wrenching loss.

Though no amount of financial compensation will ever make up for the unspeakable loss of a baby during or soon after birth, the law provides families the ability to pursue justice and accountability on behalf of their infant. Consequently, many mothers and fathers who suffer losses due to negligence in the delivery room pursue legal action and may ultimately recover payment for things such as emotional pain and suffering, therapy costs, lost earning capacity and loss of familial relationships.

But for many, the only available solace that comes from a medical malpractice lawsuit is that of knowing that the individuals and entities responsible for their personal tragedy are held to account for their actions.

  1. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Potentially Avoidable Injuries to Mothers and Newborns During Childbirth, 2006,

  2. Stanford Children's Health, Birth Injury,

  3. The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook, Birth Injury,