If you read the New York Daily News Monday, you might think twice about going to a New York City hospital for treatment.
The tabloid ran a story, “$134 Million Mistakes! Hospital Horror Stories Cost City Big Bucks,” which talked about malpractice cases — several resulting in brain damage — in the city’s 11 public hospitals. One of those cases involved the drug Pitocin, which has been cited in several lawsuits stemming from babies being born brain damaged.
In one mishap cited by the News, Deirdre Thompson was rushed to Queens Hospital Center on June 4, 2008, when she started having contractions. A doctor examined her around 9 a.m., and the determination was that the baby wasn’t moving down the birth canal, the News wrote.
So Thompson was given Pitocin to induce labor and increase her contractions. Later that day, the unborn baby’s heart rate went from 120 beats a minute to 90 beats per minute, depriving the child’s brain of oxygen, according to the News.
Even though Thompson was still having problems with the birth, doctors didn’t do a C-section, but instead made her keep pushing for two more hours, the News said. The doctors were also pressing down on Thompson’s stomach.
When the baby, Sebastian, was finally born, he was having seizures, and his heart was racing at 200 beats a minute, the News reported. A CT of his brain found that it was bleeding, and that he had a skull fracture. Because of the traumatic brain injury, Sebastian is disabled, and has problems walking and talking, The News said.
His mother sued and was awarded $5.3 million, with half of that going to a fund for the cost of Sebastian’s medical care.
Another one of these horror stories, as the News called them, took place at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. On Dec. 9, 2009, Magdalena Villalba-Carrillo went to its emergency room for a bad headache, according to the News. She was released from the facility three days later, but there was a small problem: Doctors hadn’t diagnosed Villalba-Carrillo with an aneurysm, which she had.
A little more than a week later, the poor woman had a massive brain hemorrhage and fell down in the street, the News reported. She had surgery, but unfortunately “has been in a vegetative state ever since,” the tabloid said. There was a $4.9 million settlement in that suit.
And that’s not all. The third case that the News wrote about was that of Jamahl Dawson, 13. His mother Carmen Garcia in 1999 was found to have preeclampsia, which has to be treated by delivering a baby. So physicians at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx induced labor, the News reported.
But when Garcia finally gave birth, there wasn’t a doctor — or the necessary equipment — in the delivery room to swiftly resuscitate Jamahl, according to the News. As a result, he sustained brain damage and can hardly talk. He also needs a walker to get around.
There was a $4.5 million settlement in that case.