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Jury finds Pennsylvania nurses negligent in birth injury

While newborns are routinely delivered every day in Pennsylvania, families in our state still have to cope with the results of preventable birth injuries. According to a lawsuit filed in Chester County, two nurses were negligent when they failed to notify an OB-GYN when the heart rate of an infant dropped far below normal while the mother was in labor.

The mother was reportedly admitted to Phoenixville Hospital and didn't expect any complications with the delivery. However, it is believed that the umbilical cord somehow became pinched, and the baby was deprived of oxygen.

The lawsuit claimed that the nurses, looking at a heart monitor, observed that the heart rate had dropped, but they didn't tell a doctor. Instead, the doctor came into the mother's room 13 minutes after the nurses noticed the change. Having realized the problem, the doctor immediately told the nurses to contact their supervisor and to find an anesthesiologist. A cesarean section delivery was now necessary.

The supervisor was contacted 22 minutes after the baby's heart rate had dropped, and the anesthesiologist wasn't found for another seven minutes. Another 13 minutes passed before the baby was delivered.

Meanwhile, the child suffered brain damage, and she now lives with cerebral palsy.

A jury hearing the case deliberated for nine hours and found that the little girl and her family should receive $32.8 million in compensation for damages. According to the family's attorney, the little girl has difficulty walking and talking, and it is hoped that the money awarded by the jury will cover the cost of the child's ongoing medical care.

Source: Daily Times, "Jury gives girl $32.M to girl in Chesco medical malpractice case," Michael P. Rellahan, Jan. 22, 2014

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