A couple who lost their unborn child in utero when the wife was at full-term pregnancy has filed a wrongful death claim against various healthcare providers, alleging the defendants didn’t do enough to properly protect the fetus.
Attorneys Marc G. Brecher and Susan A. Morgan, of the Philadelphia law firm Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller, filed the civil action May 29 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Philadelphia residents Karean Christian and Lawrence Everett.
The couple, who are husband and wife, are suing on behalf of their deceased son, Khalil Antonio Everett.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Jefferson University Physicians, Jefferson Family Medicine Associates, Christina N. Hillson and Sara DeBoer.
The latter two are medical doctors who work for the co-defendants.
According to the complaint, Christian, who was 37 weeks pregnant at the time, was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on Oct. 15, 2011 at about 4:20 in the morning with complaints of abdominal pain.
She was released nearly two hours later.
Later that evening, however, Christian returned to the hospital after experiencing worsening abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, the lawsuit states. She was discharged the following day at about 4 a.m.
On Oct. 17 of that year, Christian went to the office of her prenatal provider, defendant Jefferson Family Medicine Associates, for evaluation of continued abdominal pain and came under the care of defendants Hillson and DeBoer.
The next day, Hillson phoned Christian to inform her that an ultrasound performed on Oct. 16 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital demonstrated no gall stones and no evidence of cholecystitis, and that she should return to Jefferson Family Medicine Associates in three days, according to the complaint.
During that phone conversation, Christian told Hillson that she was still experiencing abdominal pain.
On Oct. 19, Christian went back to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with continued abdominal pain, at which time she was informed by medical personnel that a fetal heart rate could not be found and that the unborn child had died in utero, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence for failing to properly recognize the source of Christian’s abdominal pain, failing to take proper cognizance of nonreactive fetal heart monitor tracings taken from Christian during her evaluation at the labor and delivery unit of the hospital, failing to properly interpret the fetal heart monitor tracings taken from Christian and failing to perform certain tests that could have more accurately assessed Christian’s condition.
The lawsuit contains counts of wrongful death, medical malpractice, bodily injury, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The complaint alleges that after being informed that her baby had died in utero, Christian was told that her labor would have to be induced to vaginally deliver the deceased child from her womb.
“Plaintiff, Karean Christian, underwent induction of labor for many hours on October 19, 2011, during which time she was alert and oriented and suffered extreme pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, and emotional distress knowing that she was in the process of delivering her baby dead,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of the aforesaid acts of medical negligence by defendants, plaintiff, Karean Christian, suffered extreme pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, and emotional stress upon observing the traumatic birth of her dead infant son.”
The suit claims that Christian continues to suffer from stress and anxiety, insomnia, crying spells, headaches, forgetfulness, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, flashbacks and nervous system shock.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages in excess of $50,000.
The case ID number is 120503241.