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Connecticut Plaintiff Alleges Delayed C-Section Caused Permanent Birth Injuries

InfantA birth injury settlement has been reached in the case of a young mother from Cromwell who filed a lawsuit against the University of Connecticut Health Center.

The plaintiff had been looking ahead to the start of the trial on April 28, which would have been overseen by Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina. However, negotiations to reach a settlement were successful. The defendants have agreed to pay $3 million to the family, which will help provide the intensive care the young boy will need.

High-risk pregnancy identified

The 26-year-old mother has diabetes and was therefore considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. Having a high-risk pregnancy does not automatically mean that complications of pregnancy, labor, or delivery will occur. Rather, it means that healthcare providers are supposed to monitor the pregnancy more closely. They may also perform additional tests.

A few times during her pregnancy, the mother had to be hospitalized for dehydration and nausea, which were considered to be complications of diabetes. However, it was determined that the prenatal development of the baby was normal.

Late on November 19, 2010, the young mother went into labor and was taken to a nearby hospital, at which point fetal heart rate monitoring began. At around 1:00 A.M. on November 20, the fetal heart rate monitor indicated signs of fetal distress. Fetal distress is widely accepted to be grounds to perform an emergency C-section to prevent the possibility of trauma to the baby, such as oxygen deprivation to the brain.

It may also be indicative of uterus or placental insufficiency, as was the case with the Connecticut plaintiff. This condition involves a reduction in maternal blood and oxygen through the umbilical cord to the baby. This occurs during contractions. If not treated promptly, uterus or placental insufficiency can lead to oxygen deprivation of the baby and body fluids that are too acidic, which is allegedly what occurred during this particular birth.

Delayed C-section

According to the birth injury lawsuit, the OB/GYN resident and OB/GYN fellow at the hospital failed to observe signs of fetal distress until about 6:30 A.M. At that point, the doctor was alerted. The physician immediately informed the staff to prepare for an emergency C-section. Subsequently, the child was delivered at about 8:30 A.M. A spokesperson for the plaintiff noted that this was about five-and-a-half to seven hours later than when the child should have been delivered via C-section.

Upon delivery of the child, he was noticeably limp and had to be placed on a ventilator. Two days later, the child underwent an MRI, which revealed that he had suffered a stroke. Healthcare experts retained by the plaintiff determined that the boy had suffered the stroke at or around the time of his birth, which may mean that it was a complication of delivery, not of the mother’s high-risk pregnancy.

The defendants were quick to settle the birth injury claim. In fact, the family’s spokesperson indicated that the defendants did not try to disprove that medical malpractice occurred. According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, “The error was so egregious that the hospital required (the OB/GYN fellow) to take a remedial course in the interpretation of electronic fetal heart tracings.”

Although the $3 million birth injury settlement will certainly help the family provide the intensive care the boy needs, the full extent of his impairment isn’t yet clear. The boy cannot undergo neurocognitive testing until he is five years old. Currently, the child has significant mobility impairments and he requires intensive occupational, speech, and physical therapy each week.

Connecticut Law Tribune, Hospital Settles for $3 Million After Baby Has Stroke,
American Pregnancy Association, Fetal Distress,