A woman is suing the GW Hospital for medical negligence, alleging doctors failed to conduct a caesarean section and permanently injured her newborn infant when she gave birth more than a decade ago.
In an 11-page complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court Tuesday, Nicole Kilpatrick alleges GW Hospital and Medical Faculty Associates staff violated national standards of care when they bypassed a C-section delivery and instead treated her through a “spontaneous vaginal delivery.” Kilpatrick is suing GW Hospital, the MFA and four obstetricians – childbirth physicians – for $50 million for damages that include permanent brain injury to her child born at the hospital in 2008.
“As a result of the negligence of these defendants, the Infant Plaintiff has suffered severe, permanent and irreversible brain injury,” the complaint states. “He will not grow to enjoy a normal childhood, adolescence or adulthood, will not take place as a normal, productive member of society and has sustained neurocognitive and neuromuscular deficits.”
GW Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths and MFA spokeswoman Barbara Porter did not return requests for comment.
The lawsuit states that Kilpatrick went into labor at GW Hospital on Dec. 31, 2008 when she was 39 weeks pregnant and experiencing contractions and an intestinal strep infection. At the hospital, Kilpatrick’s infant’s heart rate fell as low as 30 beats per minute and jumped to higher levels above average, as doctors Cortney Harper, Rachael Overcash and Anthony Scialli struggled to detect a heart reading – sometimes picking up no heart rate at all – the complaint states.
Kilpatrick could not be reached for comment. Kilpatrick’s attorneys, Jonathan Schochor and James Cardea, did not return requests for comment.
The lawsuit also states that Kilpatrick’s cervix failed to open for nearly two hours before she attempted to give birth. Although the doctors, also including Wendy Monthy, noted these observations, the team of obstetricians didn’t elect to use a C-section to deliver the infant, which is “mandated” by national care standards, according to the lawsuit.
Scialli did not return a request for comment. Harper, Overcash and Monthy could not be reached for comment.
“The obstetrical team breached the national standards of care in their failure to call for a cesarean section in a timely fashion,” the complaint states.
Kilpatrick’s child was deprived of oxygen in the womb before he was born in a “depressed and flaccid” state, the complaint states. The lawsuit states that the physicians “intubated and suctioned” the infant and found “thick” bodily waste below his vocal chords before discharging the mother and son on Jan. 3, 2009.
Kilpatrick alleges her child has and will continue to endure “physical pain, emotional anguish, fear, embarrassment and humiliation” on top of his injuries sustained during birth. The complaint states the boy would not suffer from any of his current conditions if the doctors had conducted a C-section delivery.
“Had the defendants complied with the national standard of care, a cesarean section would have been conducted in a timely manner, and the Infant Plaintiff would have been born without having sustained any brain damage whatsoever,” the complaint states.