Kaiser Delay Damaged Baby's Brain, Mom Says
DECATUR, Ga. (CN) - A couple blames Kaiser Permanente, a hospital, a doctor and a midwife for their baby's permanent brain damage, claiming in a malpractice complaint that a Cesarean was performed too late, after hours of unproductive labor and fetal distress.
The mother, Saadato Dason, and the father, Habib Fuseini, sued in DeKalb County Superior Court on their own behalf and as natural guardians of their baby, Naima Jones. The 16-page lawsuit names defendants Fonda A. Mitchell, M.D. and Pamela M. Richard-Torke, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) as "employees/agents of defendants Southeast Permanente, Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Foundation and Gwinnett Medical Center."
According to the complaint, 37-year-old Dason had a "high risk pregnancy with little to no chance of vaginal delivery in a reasonable and safe time duration. The applicable standard of care for patients such as Saadatu Dason and Naima Jones required that they not be unnecessarily subjected to the rigors of labor and its associated risk of fetal compromise, unless monitoring and testing was unequivocally normal and reassuring."
The complaint says Dason was admitted to Gwinnett Medical Center "with spontaneous rupture of membranes, meconium stained fluid, positive fetal movement and irregular contractions," on Sept. 11, 2011.
According to online medical sources, meconium, which is normally in the fetal intestinal tract, can leak into the amniotic fluid during labor, causing respiratory complications for the newborn. A procedure called amnioinfusion, in which saline is infused into the amniotic fluid, is sometimes used to dilute the meconium.
"With a backdrop of meconium being present and an initial abnormal fetal heart monitoring tracing, the standard of care required Cesarean section delivery without delay when it became evident that delivery was remote and monitoring and testing ceased being reassuring," the complaint says.
Instead of the timely Cesarean that was called for, the complaint says that midwife Pamela Richard-Torke ordered an amnioinfusion, at least three hours after labor began, which was approved by Dr. Fonda Mitchell. About two hours later, the complaint says, Richard-Torke ordered Pitocin, a labor-stimulating drug, which was administered for almost an hour.
"Around 4:00 p.m., Dr. Mitchell decided to perform an emergency Cesarean section delivery based upon demonstrated fetal intolerance to labor. Naima Jones was delivered at 4:30 p.m. in a highly depressed state with a large amount of meconium in the amniotic fluid," the complaint says. "At the time of her release from Gwinnett Medical Center, Naima Jones suffered and continues to suffer from severe medical and developmental problems including but not limited to seizures," it continues.
Plaintiffs Saadato Dason and Habib Fuseini seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and the cost of supervised care, therapies, medical attention and special schooling for Naima Jones up to the age of 18 and beyond.
They are represented by James A. Goldstein, Jonathan P. Hayes and Jared M. Lina of Goldstein & Hayes in Atlanta.