Medical Malpractice

Incorrect diagnosis leads to severe brain damage in newborn

Hernandez v. Diamond Hospitals, et al.

Case Results

The case settled on the “courthouse steps” for lifetime care and funding for the child in excess of $15,000,000 via a guaranteed annuity.

Facts

The plaintiff, 38 weeks pregnant, suffered from rashes and itching so she went to the nearest emergency room. Her blood pressure was elevated -- 140/97. Told she was suffering from a reaction to household cleaning products, she was given Benadryl and sent home. Two days later, she had the same symptoms and returned to the emergency facility. Again, she was given Benadryl and told she was fine. This time, her blood pressure was 190/91, a classic symptom of pre- eclampsia. Once more, the plaintiff was sent home and told to follow up with her obstetrician at her next scheduled obstetric appointment.

She should have been sent to labor and delivery immediately but was not. The nurse attendant who took her blood pressure claimed she told the Emergency Room physician of the elevated blood pressure, which he denied. The following morning, the plaintiff woke up with seizures, and her husband rushed her to the hospital. In route, he ran a red light and was broadsided in a major collision. By the time the plaintiff got to the hospital, she was semi-conscious and thus “worked up” for a head injury, not eclampsia, which had caused her seizures. By the time her daughter was delivered, she had severe brain damage due to her mother’s undiagnosed eclampsia.

Legal Strategies

The defendants argued the child was injured in a car accident; sustaining a placental abruption. The delivery hospital argued they were not told of the seizures so only focused on the plaintiff’s head injury from the accident. The Emergency Room hospital that misdiagnosed the pre-eclampsia argued plaintiff was told to immediately see her OB-GYN physician. Forensic pathologists for the plaintiff proved that the placental damage occurred two days before the automobile accident, thus, the failure of the hospital to admit her when she first had abnormal blood pressure readings was the causative factor of the baby’s brain damage.

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