A baby will spend the rest of her life with brain damage and a seizure disorder after her mother’s doctor failed to send her to a hospital that could better manage the labour and delivery risk factors that he himself identified.
The family doctor accepted Mom into his practice to care for her during her first pregnancy. Unfortunately, Mom had a complicated medical history: she had a fractured pelvis, neurogenic bladder and urinary incontinence from a car accident, and had suspected breast cancer. She also had a family history of malignant hyperthermia, which caused severe muscle contractions with a general anaesthesia. Mom diligently gave the doctor the x-rays of her pelvis and a letter from another doctor explaining her pelvic deformity, but the doctor did not examine them.
At the hospital, the doctor only had certification to oversee low-risk pregnancies. Despite having identified the pregnancy as a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor registered the mom at a birthing centre which only accepts low-risk pregnancies. The birthing centre did not have the capability to perform caesarean section deliveries.
At 39 weeks gestation, Mom had a pelvic examination by her doctor which resulted in bleeding. He referred her to the low-risk birthing centre. The fetal heart rate (FHR) was normal, but an ultrasound was requested to rule out placenta previa. Mom was sent home on the same day. The doctor never arranged for Mom to consult with an obstetrician or an internist, nor did he ever seek the advice of any of these specialists despite the high-risk score he himself assigned to Mom’s pregnancy.
After Mom began to bleed again, she requested an appointment with an obstetrician. The doctor scheduled an appointment with the obstetrician on call at the hospital but gave the obstetrician no information about Mom’s troubled medical history. On the day the appointment was scheduled, a profound bradycardia, or extremely rapid FHR of 60 bpm, was noted. The nurses attempted to reposition and examine Mom and did not page the obstetrician for 8 to 10 minutes. Despite the fact that the FHR monitor tracing showed ongoing fetal distress, the baby was not delivered by emergency Cesarean section until some 40 minutes after the onset of the crisis.
The baby was born severely asphyxiated and began to seize. There was oligohydramnios from a lack of amniotic fluid and oxygen, meconium staining, and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. She is also microcephalic, another manifestation of the impairment of brain growth. She continues to suffer from severe neurological disability. She will always be profoundly disabled.
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