Medical Malpractice Judge Finds That Short Delay Led To Girl’s Cerebral Palsy


Posted on 18th June 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Mere minutes made the difference that resulted in a newborn getting cerebral palsey, according to a judge who found a doctor and nurse negligent in the botched birth.

In a case in British Columbia, Canada, Judge Ian Pitfield on Monday ruled in favor of the family of Mirella Steinebach, finding that her physician Dr. Jodi Lock O’Brien and nurse Charito Hermogenes were liable for negligence during  her March 31, 2005 birth at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

The girl, now five, has cerebral palsy, a result of oxygen deprivation to her brain. It happened when her placenta separated fomr her mother’s uterus during the birth.

The damages in the civil case haven’t been determined yet, but estimates are in the $730,000 range. 

In his ruling, the judge noted that Mirella was born ar 5:37 a.m.,  but oxygen to her brain was cut off sometime between 5:17 a.m. and 5:27 a.m. 

“It follows that if Mirella had been delivered at any time before 0517 hours, it would it is more likely than not that she would not have suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy,” or the brain damage that led her to get cerebral palsy.    

The judge wrote that Mirella likely won’t live past 20 years old.

Her birth had several complications that the Dr. O’Brien seemed to overlook, including the fact that Mirella’s mother had gestational diabetes and low weight gain for a pregnancy.

“Dr. O’Brien owed a duty to Ms. Steinebach to consult with an obstetrician regarding the appropriate course for the management of the labour,” the judge wrote in his ruling.


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