Medical Negligence News

Hospital Administration Negligence Blamed for Birth Injury

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Medical Negligence

Hospital administration negligence has been blamed for catastrophic birth injuries which left a child requiring a lifetime of care after sustaining severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

A jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas heard how Victoria Upsey (36) from Pottstown in Philadelphia was admitted to the Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre when 36 weeks pregnant displaying signs of placental abruption.

Doctors attempted to establish the well-being of Victoria´s baby with a foetal scan, but when results were inconclusive, an ultrasound was performed despite the ultrasound technician not being present as it was a Sunday.

The consultant obstetrician who performed the ultrasound failed to detect a heartbeat and informed Victoria that her child had died. However, when the technician was summoned to confirm the obstetrician conclusions, it was discovered that the baby was still alive.

An emergency Caesarean operation was scheduled, but because of a delay of 81 minutes while the hospital was waiting for the ultrasound engineer to arrive, the foetus suffered a lack of oxygen and was born with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

After seeking legal advice, Victoria and her family made a claim for birth injury compensation against the medical centre and consulting obstetrician; however, while preparing the claim, solicitors discovered that the ultrasound equipment had not been serviced for more than 10 years despite the operating manual indicating that annual maintenance was required.

Victoria´s solicitors argued in court that the hospital administration had been negligent – rather than the consultant obstetrician – a view which was shared by the Honourable Mark Bernstein and the jury at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Finding the Pottstown Memorial Medical Centre guilty of hospital medical negligence, the jury awarded Victoria and her family 78.5 million dollars in respect of the injuries suffered by the child – now three years of age – the cost of medical care in the future, loss of earning potential and the emotion trauma that Victoria had experienced having been told that her baby had died and 81 minutes later being told it was still alive.