Monday, July 18, 2011

Brain Damaged Baby



J. Douglas Peters, Ann Mandt and local counsel negotiated a 2.5 million ($2,500,000) Dollar settlement against the defendant doctor and defendant hospital in this case involving failure of labor to progress, an unsuccessful attempt at delivery using a vacuum extractor for 13 pulls, and a failure to timely deliver the fetus in the face of fetal distress. This case was not litigated in Michigan.

Mother, a 34 year-old gravida-1 at 40 weeks gestation with good clinical dating and ultrasound, presented herself to the hospital at the onset of contractions at about 5:30 p.m. There was no bleeding or rupture of the membranes. Mother's pre-natal course was uncomplicated. She was rubella negative, blood type A+ and her alphafeto-protein had been normal. An infectious disease workup was negative and the mother did not use cigarettes or alcohol during her pregnancy.

Mother was admitted to labor and delivery and watched overnight. In the early morning her contractions began occurring every 2-5 minutes, were mild in intensity and lasted 50-70 seconds. There was good beat-to-beat variability. At about 8:00 a.m., mother's membranes ruptured spontaneously with clear fluid. Her blood pressure rose to 150/90's. In the first few hours following the rupture of her membranes there was a failure of the labor to progress. The labor was augmented by IV Pitocin and over the course of the next few hours, she dilated to six (6) cm. Mother was noted to have some coupling and poor relaxation on her contraction pattern so her Pitocin was discontinued. Contractions then decreased to about one every five to six minutes lasting approximately 40-80 seconds. They were moderate to strong in intensity. Over the next hour there was no progress so the IV Pitocin was restarted at a lower level. Mother again failed to progress and an internal fetal monitoring probe was placed. At this point mild variable decelerations were noted.

Over the course of the next hour, mother progressed to 8 cm. and then fully dilated at approximately 9:30 p.m. Mother was encouraged to push but her pushing effort was noted to be poor and she had difficulty relaxing her legs.

After approximately an hour and a half of such pushing, mother having made only a small amount of progress, a telephone conversation with the obstetrician was obtained. Shortly thereafter, he arrived at the hospital and explained various options to the mother including the selected choice of a vacuum extractor. After 13 pulls of the vacuum extractor, with two to three pop-offs, the vacuum extractor did bring the head down to bring the head down to crowning. It took several more pushes after that for the mother to push the baby out.

Following the delivery, the baby had APGAR scores of 1, 3 and 3 at 1, 5 in 10 minutes after birth. During the last 20 minutes of the second stage, the fetal heart tones ranged from about 150 to 180 and decelerations appeared. Delivery was finally effectuated at approximately midnight.

Upon delivery, the baby was described as being severely depressed, color was pale blue and there was no respiratory effort and the muscle tones were flaccid. After resuscitation, including intubation, the baby was transferred to a Children's Hospital in a University Center. Neonatal seizures occurred within the first 24 hours. The records showed the baby was hypoxic and acidotic with massive subglial hematomas, all of which resulted in moderate/severe cerebral palsy.

This case was settled prior to trial with a non-disclosure agreement.

J. Douglas Peters & Ann Mandt
(313) 875-8080


Patients should pay close attention to the drugs their physicians prescribe. Ask you pharmacist to provide you with information about adverse reactions of each drug you are prescribed as well as the synergistic (combined) effects of taking various drugs together. Often, patients are prescribed one set of drugs by one physician and another set by another physician. Make sure that each of your physicians knows what other physicians have prescribed for you.

Make sure the labeling on the prescription specifically identifies the number of pills you are to take each day, as well as the time of day the pills should be taken. An important article appearing in the January 2011 issue of Vanity Fair reports that approximately 200,000 people a year die in America from prescription drugs that are considered "safe". This is three times the number of people who die each year from diabetes, four times the number who die from kidney disease and approximately five times the number of people killed each year in America from automobile accidents.

In 1996, Gov. Engler and the Republican Legislature passed a law in Michigan that gives immunity from suit to any manufacturer whose products are approved by the FDA. This includes all prescription drugs. Former democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm was unable to change this law because the republicans controlled the State Senate. Now, the republicans control the governorship and the Michigan Supreme Court, so changes in the law are unlikely. For this reason, since patients do not have adequate legal redress, and because of common sense, patients must vigorously look out for their own personal interests by scrutinizing the labels of the drugs they are prescribed as well as reading available information from pharmacists and the internet on the drugs they are prescribed.

After a dozen or so deaths linked to runaway Toyotas, Japanese executives were called to Washington to testify. When the pharmaceutical industry meets with lawmakers, it is mainly to provide campaign contributions. Caveat emptor (buyer beware).

If a pharmacist mis-fills a prescription, or if a doctor prescribes a medication that is not indicated for your clinical condition, and you sustain an injury, please feel free to call J. Douglas Peters at Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. with your questions.

5510 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 875-8080


Although food poisoning can occur in any season, the warm temperatures of
Summer create special risks.

Food poisoning is caused when we eat food or drink that has been contaminated, most commonly by bacteria, but sometimes by viruses and chemicals.

Food poisoning can be caused by forces we can control and forces we cannot control. When shopping, check the "used-by-dates" on products to make sure you are not buying old inventory that might have started to spoil. Especially be careful of pre-ground hamburger, it has lots of surface area which may become contaminated with fecal material from slaughtered cows. If you can buy hamburger that has been freshly ground at the store from chunks of meat, as opposed to being re-ground from tubes of previously ground hamburger, you decrease your chance of food poisoning. Vegetables may be contaminated by fecal material from the fields where the vegetables are grown or from poor sanitation on the part of workers who harvest these vegetables. No matter how fresh and clean your vegetables look, they should be thoroughly washed and drained before use. Buying from a reputable food store increases your chances for safety as most of the large chain stores have strict food purchasing and handling protocols.

Making sure you buy your foods in a careful manner, is only the first step. Food preparation is also a common source of contamination. Unclean cutting boards and other contaminated surface areas will pass bacterial contamination onto foodstuffs that are prepared on those surfaces. Cleaning surfaces prior to food preparation with a mix of water and dish-soap will decontaminate 99% of all surface areas.

Foodstuffs prepared with mayonnaise are especially susceptible to bacterial growth during the summer heat. Refrigeration and rapid consumption of foodstuffs after removal from refrigeration is the best way to avoid a bad summer experience.

Always wash your hands before and after preparing foods. Wash with hot soapy water and use disposable towels for wiping and cleanup wherever possible. Some people suggest using separate cutting boards for preparing raw meat and poultry, and a separate board for vegetables. Wherever possible keep hot foods hot (over 150°F) and cold foods cold (under 40°F).

Trust your senses. If food looks strange or smells bad or otherwise worries you, don't eat it. It is not worth the risk.

The symptoms of food poisoning may vary with the source of the contamination. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following: nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, fatigue and fever. You should see a doctor or go to an emergency room immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: frequent episodes of vomiting for more than 2 days; vomiting blood; inability to keep fluids down for 24 hours; severe diarrhea for more than 3 days; blood in your bowel movement; extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping; an oral temperature higher than 101.5 F; or, signs of dehydration such as excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness.

If you are a victim of food poisoning, chances are you will not be the only one to get sick as others have probably eaten from the same store, restaurant or picnic. If you suspect a source, check with others who ate the same food at the restaurant or purchased hamburger or other foods from the same grocery store.

Although most cases of food poisoning cause mild symptoms, food poisoning can be life threatening, so when in doubt, it is better to go to the emergency room or see your doctor.

Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. has been handling food poisoning claims for over 35 years. From contaminated mushrooms on pizzas, to contaminated peppers, to contaminated hamburger, our firm has made recoveries against commercial grocers and restaurants. Saving samples of suspected food and gathering the names and phone numbers of other customers who shopped at the same store or ate at the same restaurant is always helpful in proving food poisoning cases.

If you believe you have been a victim of serious food poisoning resulting in hospitalization or a permanent injury, please feel free to call any of the lawyers at Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.

J. Douglas Peters
(313) 875-8080