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GW Hospital Hit with Medical Negligence Suit Over Birth Injury

— August 21, 2020

GW Hospital was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging it was negligent during the birth of a boy more than a decade ago.

GW Hospital recently came under fire in a lawsuit alleging medical negligence. According to suit filed by Nicole Kilpatrick, doctors at the hospital “failed to conduct a caesarean section and permanently injured her newborn infant when she gave birth more than a decade ago.” The 11-page complaint was filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday and further claims “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.” In addition to the GW Hospital, the suit also names the MFA and four obstetricians as defendants and is seeking $50 million in damages. 

Image of a hospital room
Hospital Room; image courtesy of Martha Dominguez via Unsplash,

The suit states:

“As a result of the negligence of these defendants, the Infant Plaintiff has suffered severe, permanent and irreversible brain injury. 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.”

What happened, exactly? For starters, Kilpratrick was at GW Hospital when she went into labor on December 31, 2008. She was 39 weeks along at the time and experiencing contractions “and an intestinal strep infection.” During labor, her 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,” according to the suit.

Additionally, the suit alleges that “Kilpatrick’s cervix failed to open for nearly two hours before she attempted to give birth.” Even though the doctors were aware of this, they failed to “elect to use a C-section to deliver the infant, which is mandated by national care standards,” the suit argues. It further states, “The obstetrical team breached the national standards of care in their failure to call for a cesarean section in a timely fashion.”

As a result of the negligence and poor care, Kilpatrick’s infant was “deprived of oxygen in the womb before he was born in a depressed and flaccid state.” According to the suit, as soon as he was born, the physicians “intubated and suctioned the infant and found thick bodily waste below his vocal chords.” The mother and son were discharged on January 3, 2009. 

In her suit, Kilpatrick argues her son has and will continue to experience “physical pain, emotional anguish, fear, embarrassment and humiliation on top of his injuries sustained during birth.” She added that if her doctors had just conducted a C-section delivery, her son would not be suffering now. The suit states:

“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.”


Woman alleges GW Hospital, MFA negligence caused permanent injury of newborn infant

Woman Sues GW Hospital over Son’s Birth Injury and Brain Damage

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