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Nebraska Mother Files Birth Injury Lawsuit Alleging Prenatal Negligence

pregnant woman having ultrasound

A Nebraska woman has filed a $5 million birth injury lawsuit against the United States of America, on behalf of her five-year-old daughter. As required by statute, her original claim was mailed to a Kentucky hospital and received on April 3, 2012. It was formally denied on June 13, 2013.

On June 2, 2010, the plaintiff was married to a United States Army Captain. They were stationed in Kentucky when she was admitted to the labor and delivery unit at a Fort Knox hospital. She was in labor from approximately 3:40 am until 5:11 pm, when her daughter was born. This medical care and all of the mother’s prenatal care had been provided by healthcare professionals who were agents and employees of the United States of America.

Plaintiff alleges prenatal medical negligence

After approximately 13 1/2 hours of labor, the plaintiff’s daughter was born. The baby developed intracerebral hemorrhage and interventricular hemorrhage immediately following her birth. Shortly after, the child started to develop seizure-like activities. Her post-birth medical condition required the need for her to be immediately transferred to a children’s hospital in Louisville, KY, where she was treated by pediatric neurologists and other practitioners specializing in pediatric medicine.

The plaintiff claims the prenatal care she received at the Fort Knox hospital during her labor and delivery period “was inappropriate and fell below the standard of care required of such healthcare providers in caring for and treating a labor and delivery patient…”

She accuses the hospital and its staff of negligence in the following acts & omissions:

  • Failing to properly monitor and examine her prenatally.
  • Failing to properly monitor her during labor.
  • Failing to perform a C-section when they knew, or should have known, that her labor was not progressing and that her baby was in distress.
  • Failing to exercise reasonable care when she was in labor.
  • Failing to properly interpret the fetal heart monitor tracings for the mother during her labor, which included detecting that the baby was in respiratory failure for an extended period of time and was hypoxic.

Consequently, the mother claims the hospital and its employees caused her daughter to suffer a severe neurologic injury, intracranial hemorrhage, post-birth seizure-like activities, past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, permanent injury and permanent impairment of earning capacity.

Birth injuries caused by hypoxia

Hypoxemia or hypoxia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough oxygen. This dangerous condition can cause damage to the brain, liver and other organs within minutes. Hypoxemia — low oxygen in the blood — can cause hypoxia — low oxygen in the tissues of the body — when the blood doesn’t contain enough oxygen to the tissues to meet the body’s needs. Hypoxia is often used to describe both issues.

Birth asphyxia — a lack of oxygen — happens when an infant’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during or immediately following birth. If the child doesn’t have enough oxygen, cells cannot properly function. Waste products build up in the cells, which may cause temporary or permanent damage.

Some of the most common causes of birth asphyxia include:

  • Issues with the placenta prematurely separating from the uterus.
  • A lack of oxygen in the mother’s blood before birth.
  • An exceptionally long or difficult delivery.
  • Umbilical cord complications during delivery.
  • Baby having an improperly formed or blocked airway.
  • A serious infection inside the body of the mother or child.
  • Baby is anemic and blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen.
  • Notably high or low blood pressure in the mother.

  1. U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, Lindsey Larsen vs. United States of America

  2. WebMD, Hypoxia and Hypoxemia

  3. Seattle Children’s, What is Birth Asphyxia