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IL: ruptured uterus-brain damaged baby died: dismissal affirmed-failure to prove causation.

CASE FACTS: Chakena Johnston had two children by C-section. In 2001, believing she was pregnant again, she went to Lincoln Medical Center for her first prenatal visit. She was treated by Dr. Imre Hidvegi, a semi-retired obstetrician. In 2000, he voluntarily retired his staff privileges and could no longer deliver babies. He provided prenatal care for patients who would deliver at Ingalls by obstetricians affiliated with the Hayes Obstetrical Group, which had a contract wherein its obstetricians had staff privileges at Ingalls. Patients seen by Dr. Hidvegi for prenatal care were to be seen by an obstetricians in the Group in their last month of pregnancy. On August 3 Johnston sought care at Ingalls, complaining of light vaginal bleeding and cramping. Group's Dr. James Threatte ordered an ultrasound and fetal monitoring. Both were normal. Johnston was instructed to follow-up at Lincoln and to immediately return to the hospital if she experienced heavy vaginal bleeding. On August 23 Johnston sought prenatal care at Lincoln, complaining of abdominal pain and vomiting. Dr. Hidvegi examined her and referred her for an ultrasound. It was normal. On November 1 Johnston returned to Lincoln complaining of a cold. She was seen by Dr. Hee Han Kim, a family practice physician. Dr. Kim was aware that Johnston was eight months pregnant and referred her back to Dr. Hidvegi. Johnston kept her appointment with Dr. Hidvegi on November 5. She was 37-38 weeks pregnant. Since Dr. Hivegi had difficulty in detecting a fetal heart beat, he directed Johnston to the hospital's labor and delivery department to obtain fetal heart monitoring and an ultrasound. At St Francis she was examined by Deidre Bell, a labor and delivery nurse. Nurse Bell took a history and placed her on an external fetal heart monitor for 45 minutes. The monitor, as well as palpations, revealed mild to moderate Braxton Hicks contractions, not labor contractions. Days later, Johnston began to feel contractions lasting 1 hour and not recurring for 7 to 8 hours. On November 7 she began to experience constant pain along with more frequent, stronger contractions. An emergency cesarean section revealed the uterus had ruptured, and the baby was inside the abdominal cavity. The baby was diagnosed with brain damage and died November 17, 2001. Johnston, as special administrator of the baby's estate, filed suit against all involved, alleging negligence and wrongful death and survival. The trial court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. Johnston appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Court of Appeals of Illinois affirmed the judgment entered by the trial court. The court held, inter alia, that there was insufficient evidence to support a causal connection between any deviation from the standard of care and the resulting injury and death. Johnson v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital, 1-09-0422 ILCA1 (6/29/2010)-IL

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Title Annotation:Legal Case Briefs for Nurses
Publication:Nursing Law's Regan Report
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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