Couple sues GW Hospital alleging negligence during child’s birth caused brain damage

Media Credit: File Photo by Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

A couple is suing one of GW Hospital's midwifes for allegedly failing to perform necessary tests before the birth of their child.

A couple is suing the GW Hospital alleging that medical personnel were negligent in administering tests before their child’s birth.

In a 10-page complaint filed in the D.C. Superior Court Wednesday, Jennifer and Akin Adams allege that a certified nurse-midwife, Kimla McDonald, did not conduct the proper tests to monitor their fetus’ heart rate before their child’s birth in 2012. The couple is suing for $25 million, claiming that the hospital’s negligence led to severe brain damage to their child.

The lawsuit states that the couple had planned to complete the birth in the hospital’s bathtub but needed a nonstress test, or measurement of the fetus’s heartbeat and how it responds to movement, compliant with the “national standard of care” before conducting a bathtub birth.

“Indeed defendant McDonald ordered a nonstress test in recognition of the national standards of care,” the complaint states. “Unfortunately, she and other hospital personnel negligently failed to carry out the necessary testing, in continuing violation of the national standard of care.”

Kimla McDonald, the Adams’ certified nurse-midwife, did not return a request for comment.

The complaint states that Jennifer Adams arrived at the hospital at about 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, 2012 after she had been experiencing contractions since about 8 a.m. The doctors then began to carry out the delivery plan, which had been established prior to birth.

The baby was born with respiratory problems and a low heart rate, the complaint states. The newborn was then transferred to a “national pediatric hospital” where they were diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or brain damage caused by insufficient oxygen flow to the brain, the complaint states.

“The plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the negligence of these defendants, the minor plaintiff suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy resulting in severe brain damage which is permanent in nature,” the lawsuit states.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths and GW Medical Faculty Associates spokeswoman Barbara Porter also did not return requests for comment.

The Adams’ lawyers did not return a request for comment.

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