Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Scrutinized

Neonatology deals with the care and treatment of newborns during the first thirty days of life. The hospital-based specialty is practiced in the neonatal intensive care unit. These medical specialists treat ill newborns who require complex and specialized care. Neonatologists may also be present in the labor and delivery room preparing for the birth.

After the death of three infants in six weeks at Geisinger Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit in Danville, Pennsylvania, parents of baby Abel Cepeda filed a medical negligence lawsuit. Their six-day-old baby died from a bacterial infection. The lawsuit alleges that the medical center knew at the time that its neonatal intensive care unit was contaminated with the bacteria that infected several babies. Abel Cepeda was the third infant to die and five others were infected. Pseudomonas bacteria are common but can pose a health risk in fragile patients such as premature infants.

Geisinger Medical Center is a 594-bed hospital which serves as the primary hospital for the Danville-based Geisinger Health System, one of Pennsylvania’s largest health networks. In a press conference, Geisinger officials said they became aware of the presence of the bacteria in early August. Plaintiff’s attorney Matt Casey states that the contamination was concealed for two months. The bacterium was traced to equipment used to measure and administer donor breast milk. The milk itself was not the source of the deadly exposure.

The American Academy of Pediatrics describes the role of the expert witness in medical liability cases thus:

The role of the expert witness is often to establish standards of care applicable for the case at hand. The expert may also be asked to evaluate whether the factual testimony provided by other witnesses indicates any deviation from acceptable standards. When care has been deemed “substandard,” the expert witness may be asked to opine whether that deviation from the standard of care could have been the proximate cause of the patient’s alleged injury…

Because courts and juries depend on medical experts to make medical standards understandable, the testimony should be clear, coherent, and consistent with the standards applicable at the time of the incident.

Neonatologists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. The typical patient of the neonatologist is an ill newborn requiring complex, specialized care due to prematurity, low birth weight, congenital malformations, sepsis, birth injuries, etc. Elite Medical Experts covers the entire spectrum of neonatology litigation and consultation. Contact Elite Medical Experts to secure a neonatology expert from a leading university whose expertise is tailored to the needs of your case.

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