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Parents Launch Investigation into Child’s Death, Saying Severely Delayed C-Section was to Blame

In my personal life, poor communication amounts to a fair amount of misunderstandings between my wife and me. At the end of the day, though, our miscommunications usually amount to nothing more than quarrels about the type of bread we use, or when we sit down to dinner.

Poor communication during labor and delivery

In the medical field, however, the consequences of basic miscommunications  can be disastrous – especially in the high-pressure environments of delivery rooms. In what is perhaps a medical communication breakdown for the record books, a Scottish couple is claiming a delayed Cesarean caused lifelong brain damage to their baby.

Like many late-term mothers, Jennifer Kennedy had arranged to have a scheduled C-section at her local hospital. When she arrived at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock on the morning of December 14th , she was forty weeks pregnant. She was told by a consultant that doctors would perform her c-section in two hours.


Orders not relayed to personnel during shift changes

Things then went drastically wrong. Due to a shift change, a miscommunication occurred among staff, and Kennedy’s c-section was delayed. Despite Kennedy’s pleas, nurses insisted that she should wait to have a natural birth. Twelve hours after the c-section was scheduled, Kennedy’s uterus ruptured, and the baby’s heart stopped beating.

Doctors performed a crash Cesarean, and took 15 minutes to resuscitate Kennedy’s child, Elijah.

“The worst thing about all this is that he was a perfect little baby until that day in the hospital,” Kennedy reportedly said, to the Kilmarnock Standard. “Now he has brain damage and will need constant care. He doesn’t deserve that. We did all that was asked of us and we were let down by the people you’re meant to trust.”

According to a follow-up article in The Standard, Elijah died May 27 at his home in New Farm Loch, Scotland.

Communication errors from the perspective of a birth injury lawyer

While the above may have happened overseas, the scary fact remains that similar delivery room horror stories frequently occur in the U.S. As a lawyer who represents birth injury cases, it’s my personal duty to take depositions of all medical personnel associated with the event. In so many cases, I find that a simple communication breakdown was behind a heartbreaking ordeal.

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