On December 18, 2011, the child’s mother, accompanied by her husband, was admitted to the University of Illinois Medical Center. She was given Pitocin at 7:30 p.m. to induce labor contractions, and doctors began monitoring the baby’s heart rate at the same time.
Midwife Carla Burdock admitted at deposition that there were numerous late decelerations in the baby’s heart rate starting at 10 p.m. through birth at 12:28 a.m. The plaintiffs contended that if the delivery had occurred before 11 p.m., the baby would have been neurologically normal. The presence of these heart abnormalities should have required Obstetrician Heidi Leftwich, D.O., Midwife Burdock, and Nurse Shah Hagstrom to recommend delivery at 10:20 p.m., which did not occur. Instead, the Mother’s labor was allowed to progress and the child was eventually delivered vaginally and without any intervention.
When the child was born, no pediatric physicians were present to resuscitate the infant, something required by hospital protocol and the standard of care. The pediatric resuscitation team were not notified until three minutes after birth and arrived a minute later to provide mask ventilation and bag before intubating the baby at 12 minutes of life.
The child, now six years old, has spastic quadriplegia, cerebral palsy and seizures as a result of her brain injury, which includes white and grey matter injury from hypoxia and ischemia, is fed by a G-tube, and will require care for the rest of her life.
“This life and family-altering tragedy was entirely preventable had the Defendants acted once fetal distress was evident in the fetal monitoring strips,” said Power, Jr. “When they finally acted, it was too late. Her devoted parents have provided around-the-clock, personal care for their daughter every day since her birth in December of 2011. This settlement will ensure that their daughter gets the necessary professional care which she will need for the rest of her life.”
The $35 million settlement is a record for a birth injury in Illinois.