When 18-year-old Hayley Holland reported to the Sun Life Center for Women in Pinal County in Arizona, there were no indications that she was at any risk for high-risk or difficult labor or that her baby might suffer a birth injury.
The young mother was just 39 weeks and one day pregnant, yet her physician decided to induce labor. According to a lawsuit claimed by the woman the 2015 incident left her son with permanent injuries, including a skull fracture, which had a significant impact on his quality of life and his abilities.
The missteps that led to the birth injury began at 10:00 a.m. when Ms. Holland’s doctor ordered that a medication called Cytotec to be administered. The staff did not perform a pre-labor test to determine whether her cervix was softened or dilated enough for the drug to be administered: nor was the infant’s fetal weight or position verified via ultrasound or any other measure.
The medication was given to her at 10:30 and her labor began, with her water breaking at 3:00. By 6:15 that evening the first signs of trouble appeared, with a nurse noting that the infant’s heart rate had slowed from 60 beats per minute to just 20. Despite this, no actions were taken to improve the fetal heart rate or oxygen level, and Holland’s labor continued at a rate of six contractions every ten minutes for six hours.
Mistake on Top of Mistake Led to Birth Injury
Making the risk of birth injury even higher, Ms. Holland’s physician had ordered that after the placenta was delivered, another drug called Pitocin should be provided to control uterine bleeding. Instead of it being administered after the placenta, it was given to her four hours earlier, and before the infant was born. By 10:30 the infant still hadn’t been born and his heart rate was extremely high.
He was finally born at 12:27 in the morning, but because the labor was so intense he had suffered significant injuries, including “prominent posterior cephalohematoma, intracranial hematoma with intracranial hemorrhage, a massive subgaleal hemorrhage, cerebral edema, periorbital edema, respiratory distress requiring oxygen, and significant right arm and back bruising.” The infant required to transfer to a local medical center, where he was treated for seizures, liver injury and brain bleeding. The mother has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for “lifelong physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities.”