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Florida Couple Files Birth Injury Lawsuit

Birth Injury

A Florida mother and father have filed a birth injury lawsuit, claiming their child sustained several birth-related injuries, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The family currently resides at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, Florida. Their original claim was presented to the Department of the Navy on August 26, 2014 and was denied on February 23, 2015.

After seeking all required prenatal treatment during her pregnancy, the mother began experiencing contractions on October 1, 2012. She went to the hospital where she was admitted and prepped for delivery.

The mother underwent her first cervix check at 4:40am and was checked regularly, until receiving an epidural around 8:30am. The medical staff continued to monitor her and at 9:34 am, a doctor entered a “late entry note,” stating that the baby’s “heart rate had a baseline of 130, moderate variability, and deep early decelerations that were repetitive and returning to baseline with overall good variability,” states the claim

The doctor also noted that “the fetal tracing had repetitive deep variable decelerations overall, was a Category 1 strip with good variability, and ordered the placement of an intrauterine pressure catheter and a fetal scalpel electrode,” continues the claim.

Further intrauterine resuscitative measures were started as a result of the deep variable decelerations shown on the fetal heart tracing. This included multiple positional changes, which involved putting the mother on oxygen and initiating an amnio-infusion. The doctor also noted that the staff would continue to closely monitor the mother.

Birth injury lawsuit cites negligence

At approximately 10:06am, the mother was rechecked by another physician, who re-classified the fetal heart tracing as a Category II, indicating a clear knowledge of fetal decline. The doctor’s note also included a recommendation to proceed with a cesarean if the mother’s “cervix does not change; if variability is lost, or if the variables begin to last longer or descend to a lower rate,” states the claim. However, the doctor did not prepare the mother for a cesarean section.

The medical records indicate that a third doctor was called to the mother’s beside by the nurses at 10:28am, because the IUPC was accidentally removed. The third doctor noted that she reviewed the fetal heart tracing with the second doctor who agreed that no intervention was needed at that time and that the plan would change and operative delivery would be offered “if… FHR baseline variability is lost, fetal tachycardia develops, variables deepen or become prolonged or late,” states the claim. The mother did not receive another check until 12:05pm.

When the original doctor returned to check on the mother, she noted that multiple interventions were instituted with no response or improvement to the fetal heart tracing. A few minutes later, the baby was vaginally delivered at 12:18pm and upon delivery was noted to have no tone or respiratory effort.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

One of the most common types of brain damage caused by oxygen loss is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This injury is caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, also known as intrapartum asphyxia. A newborn’s body can handle brief periods of depleted oxygen, but if asphyxia is prolonged, brain tissue is destroyed. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy caused by fetal or neonatal asphyxia is the leading cause of death or severe impairment among infants.

When this occurs, it often causes severe developmental or cognitive delays that become more apparent when the child is three or four years old. This condition is most common in full-term infants, but it can also occur in premature babies. The timing and severity of asphyxia can impact the type and severity of the injury.

  1. U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida — Jacksonville Division, Jenifer Mochocki and Sean Mochocki vs. the United States of America

  2., Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE