$5.375 Million For Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Blume Goldfaden partner, Michael Zerres, recently obtained a $5.375 million dollar recovery on behalf of a 6-year-old Passaic County girl and her family, after she was born with a brain injury due to a delay in performing an emergency c-section.

The girl’s mom, who arrived at the hospital not feeling well, had signs of a bacterial infection, including fever, chills and a headache with a slightly elevated white blood cell count. Her husband had also experienced a similar illness and had been prescribed Augmentin, an antibiotic. After arriving at the hospital, the mom was connected to an electronic fetal monitor and the baby’s heart rate showed a pattern of continuous fetal tachycardia, or, elevation above normal limits. Despite clinical signs of a worsening infection, including a significant change in the white blood cell count and ongoing fetal tachycardia, antibiotics were not started in the mom until after many hours passed. In addition, despite the concerning fetal heart monitor tracings, delivery was only performed via c-section by the obstetrician after consultation with specialists in maternal fetal medicine and infectious disease recommended expedited delivery in light of the fact the mother had likely become septic.

The baby girl was born severely depressed, required intubation and, ultimately, whole-body cooling for HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy). Despite this treatment, subsequent imaging of the brain with MRI revealed permanent injury. Testing in the mom revealed the presence of Group A Strep. It was argued that had antibiotics been started sooner, and delivery performed via an expedited c-section, the permanent injury to the girl’s brain would likely have been avoided.