Kaiser Responsible for Infant's Brain Damage, Mom Says
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kaiser hospital staff ignored a woman who said she was in labor and told her she was probably just passing a kidney stone, she says in a Los Angeles Superior Court complaint.
Mercado, a former Kaiser employee who was was pregnant with her fourth child, began to have labor pains only five months into her pregnancy. Because she had a classical C-section with her first child, Kaiser had told her that her going into labor could cause her uterus to rupture, “causing the placenta to abrupt and extrude the fetus,” which would be catastrophic, according to the complaint.
Mercado arrived at Kaiser West Los Angeles at 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2013, experiencing back and abdominal pain. She explained to staff she felt she was having contractions, but was sent home, according to the complaint.
“A cursory and inadequate medical examination was performed on Sonia. She was informed that she was, indeed, having contractions, but was told to come back for her next scheduled appointment, which was to be on Jan. 15, 2013,” the complaint states.
Mercado's pain got worse and husband Ramiro drove his wife back to the hospital at 11 a.m., where a new staff told her that, “perhaps she had kidney stones, which were causing her pain,” according to the complaint.
Mercado was also told that her baby was “fine” and that it was “very active,” and convinced her to go home despite her demands that she stay. She ultimately “left in tears, holding her abdomen.”
Two hours after she got home, she noticed “popping” and “stretching” and a significant increase in pain. She was taken by ambulance to Centinela Hospital where she gave birth to Nicolas Mercado at 3:40 p.m. on Jan. 12.
“Sadly, during the C-section when Nicolas was delivered, it was found that Sonia’s uterus had ruptured, that there had been a placental abruption and extrusion of the fetus. Nicolas also did not cry upon delivery and required resuscitation due to oxygen deprivation. It is believed that Nicolas did not breathe spontaneously until he was approximately seven and half minutes old. It has also been confirmed that Nicolas sustained brain injury as a result of these events,” the complaint states.
Nicolas now requires extensive medical and nursing care, attendant care, rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, as well as speech and education therapy, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs are suing on three counts of medical negligence, willful misconduct, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and California state code. They are seeking economic and non-economic damages.
Philip Michels, in Los Angeles, represents the plaintiffs.