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Kaiser Sued for $27M for|Bad Birth-Monitoring

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A badly-monitored vaginal birth after a previous Cesarean left a baby with severe brain damage and seizures, her father claims in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Lawrence H. Fink, as guardian ad litem for Lilah Fink, sued Providence Health & Services - Oregon, dba Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Wendy J. Smith, M.D., Northwest Permanente P.C. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc. for $27.25 million, alleging medical negligence.

According to the lawsuit, Kaiser and Providence had a contract for Kaiser to use Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for labor and delivery services and newborn care. Those services were provided by Kaiser's medical staff, it says.

Lawrence Fink says his wife Naomi went to St. Vincent to give birth to their daughter Lilah in March 2010.

Although Mrs. Fink had previously given birth via Cesarean, she and her Kaiser doctor agreed to a trial labor in hopes that Lilah could be delivered vaginally, according to the complaint. Under the circumstances, the labor should have been more carefully monitored than it was, Mr. Fink contends.

When Lilah was born a little over 12 hours later, she "was found to be suffering from the effects of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy as a result of being subjected to a loss of oxygen to her brain during the course of her mother's labor. This condition was not detected or diagnosed by defendants and, as a result, plaintiff has sustained a permanent injury to her brain causing the injuries and damages more fully alleged, below," the complaint states.

Fink lists a series of mistakes he claims the doctors made, including inadequately monitoring Lilah's prenatal heart rate, failing to intervene by performing a Cesarean in response to symptoms of fetal distress, and failing to properly resuscitate her and respond to seizures she had right after birth.

"Plaintiff's brain damage has caused her to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microcephaly (reduced brain size), developmental delay, developmental articulation disorder, fine motor and speech delays, seizures, an increase in peripheral tone, a decrease in central tone, and has left her without the ability to walk, think, or interact normally with others. Plaintiff's cognitive abilities have also been reduced as a result of her brain damage, and will be for the rest of her life," the complaint states. Lawrence Fink seeks $15 million in non-economic damages and $12,250,000 in economic damages for Lilah, plus costs and a jury trial. The family is represented by David K. Miller of Miller & Wagner in Portland.

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