Minnesota couple Leotha Pinkney and John Richardson filed a malpractice lawsuit against the medical staff at Regions Hospital and HealthPartners in St. Paul, MN, alleging that medical staff did not provide adequate medical care during Ms. Pinkney’s labor. Their baby was born with brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. Their son is now fifteen months old and has been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, microcephaly, as well as physical and developmental delays. He also suffers from permanent neurological injuries and seizures.
The lawsuit describes the medical staff as observing fluctuations in the baby’s heart rate but continuing to administer Pitocin to Pinkney. When her temperature and pulse increased, she was given antibiotics during labor. Plaintiffs allege that hospital staff failed to observe that the baby’s heart was showing distress and then failed to properly respond and did not advise his mother that she should have an emergency cesarean section. Her son was born limp and special care nursery staff administered resuscitation but the baby was already harmed.
HealthPartners.com manages Regions Hospital and the company website describes HealthPartners as “the largest consumer governed nonprofit health care organization in the nation – serving more than 1.8 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. Our care system includes a multi-specialty group practice of more than 1,800 physicians that serves more than 1.2 million patients.”
Obstetrics deals with the care and treatment of women during pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetricians treat both routine and high-risk pregnancies. They manage a variety of conditions related to pregnancy such as hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and placental abruption. Obstetricians perform a variety of procedures such as routine vaginal delivery, Cesarean section, forceps-assisted delivery, as well as vacuum-assisted delivery.
Litigation in obstetrics is common. Obstetricians are often named in lawsuits whenever there is an unexpected or poor or fetal outcome. Allegations include failure to properly monitor the patient and fetus, failure to recognize signs of fetal distress, failure to perform delivery in a timely fashion, and failure to convert to a Cesarean section to avoid undue fetal distress.