Failure To Diagnose And Treat Group B Strep Causing Brain Damage To A Newborn

D.B. was on active duty in the U.S. Army when she entered Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, for the birth of her daughter. An emergency Cesarean section (C-section) was undertaken because of fetal distress.

Before the delivery, it was known by her doctors that D.B. suffered from an infection known as chorioamnionitis. Her amniotic fluid was tested and found to be harboring the Group B Streptococcal (Group B Strep or GBS) bacteria.

Even though she was a known GBS carrier, D.B. and her newborn baby girl were discharged from the hospital without any testing of the baby for GBS. D.B. was told that her baby was "normal" and, even though the baby was at risk for a GBS infection, D.B. was given no instructions to look out for any changes in the baby's condition.

Less than two weeks later, the baby was admitted to the local civilian Children's Health Center where she was diagnosed with neonatal Group B Strep sepsis (systemic infection) and cerebral meningitis which caused her permanent brain damage, seizure disorder, and motor and cognitive disorders. As a result of her brain damage, her I.Q. is 60-70.

An administrative claim was filed with the U.S. Army under the Federal Tort Claims Act because the obstetrical staff never informed the pediatric staff that D.B. tested positive for GBS. Furthermore, the pediatrician who was present at the delivery made no effort to learn why the emergency C-section was performed.

Simply put, there was no communication between the obstetric team and the pediatric team, even though there was a specific place in the medical record to record precisely this type of critical information.

The case ended in a multi-million dollar settlement after suit was filed in federal court in Tacoma, Washington.

Note: The example above are some of the military medical malpractice cases we have handled in the past. Case outcomes and results depend upon many factors that are unique to each case. Past results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Swartz & Reed. These examples merely provide a framework for understanding the kinds of cases we undertake.