Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP partner Kathleen Kettles obtained a $6,000,000 for a newborn who sustained brain and kidney injuries during a double exchange transfusion. A young mother was admitted to the hospital for the delivery of her third child. The hospital had a policy of boarding the infants with the mother to promote breastfeeding and bonding. The mother testified that the nurses would just poke their heads in to ask the mother how she was doing, but never evaluated the infant who was always wrapped in a blanket.
This was especially important because the mother and child had some minor blood incompatibility that could result in elevated bilirubin. Subsequently, the mother complained that the child was turning yellow and upon evaluation the infant had severely elevated bilirubin necessitating a double exchange transfusion. During the transfusion, the infant went into cardiac arrest which resulted in injury to the brain and kidneys. The child was subsequently diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy from the arrest. The child is developmentally disabled, cannot speak and has chronic kidney disease stage III which must be monitored by a pediatric nephrologist. Kathleen was able to prove that the nurse had an obligation to physically evaluate the infant and the failure to do so caused a delay in the detection of elevated bilirubin which could have been treated by phototherapy had it been detected at an earlier stage.