Unknown v. Dr. Ross and Northside Medical Clinic of Ortonville, and Ortonville Hospital

Cerebral palsy is sometimes caused by malpractice or negligence of certain aspects of the delivery process. Wyatt Perseke developed cerebral palsy after the doctors and nurses neglected the urinal hyperstimulation of the mother, which resulted in oxygen deprivation for Wyatt.

The Case of Wyatt Perseke

Wyatt was born May 9, 2002, at the Ortonville Hospital. During the birthing process, Lori Perseke was given the drug Cytotec. Cytotec is a drug used to induce labor. Some of Cytotec’s side effects include:

  • Hyperstimulation, which leads to frequent and abnormal contractions
  • Tachysystole, which is also the increased rate of contractions

According to one of the practitioners in the scene, Dr. Peck, the hospital has a policy regarding hyperstimulation via turning the mother to her left side, which improves blood flow and gives the infant more oxygen. Failing that, the hospital is required to give the medication Terbutaline, which decreases the strength and speed of contractions. Neither of these methods was applied since the hyperstimulation was not reported or noticed for hours.

Aftermath of Negligence

The irregular rate of the contractions led to a disturbed heart rate in Wyatt. The deprivation of oxygen caused hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which led to his brain damage. After being born, Wyatt required a breathing bag and mask immediately after his birth. The infant was flaccid and blue for an hour, with irregular breathing as well. Sometime later, Wyatt would also develop seizures. After three months of examination, Wyatt was determined to have brain damage and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Wyatt’s development was slowed. With the help of a walker, Wyatt took his first steps before turning two, and managed to walk a few months later. Wyatt has had assistance and speech therapy since preschool, but by age six, he was still unable to talk. Wyatt drooled excessively, lacked balance and coordination, and could not dress himself. The child also had anxiety when it came to sleep, so he often slept with his parents. Wyatt will need supervision and constant care for the rest of his life.

Settlement and Aftermath

Wyatt’s parents, Lori and Dan, sued Dr. Allan Ross, the Northside Medical Clinic of Ortonville, and the Ortonville Hospital for medical negligence in 2008. After three weeks of testimony and a previous hung jury, the Perseke family won the case. The Stevens County jury found Dr. Ross 70% at fault of the incident, while the nurses and staff present were found 30% at fault. The family was awarded a grand total of $9,566,500, though the money was placed in a court-approved trust for Wyatt’s future medical expenses. Also, only a portion of the money was paid due to pre-trial agreements, while the doctor, clinic, and hospital are all covered adequately by insurance.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

There are several risk factors that can lead to cerebral palsy. Some of the possible causes for cerebral palsy include:

  • Pre-existing condition or infection in the mother
  • Infection or inflammation in the infant
  • Pressure placed on the baby
  • Mother’s exposure to drugs, alcohol, or toxic substances
  • Disruption of blood flow to the baby
  • Disruption of oxygen to the baby’s brain

The last cause was what gave Wyatt his brain injury. Drugs such as Cytotec, which are used to induce labor, can also cause disturbed or abnormal uterus contractions that can deprive the baby of oxygen, leading to HIE and conditions like cerebral palsy.

Preventing Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is possibly preventable through careful practices of both the mother and the doctor. The mother can prevent cerebral palsy by engaging in activities such as:

  • Prevention and control of diseases before pregnancy
  • Participation in healthy practices, like exercise and diet
  • Avoidance of drugs and alcohol

Doctors can prevent cerebral palsy cases by:

  • Using monitoring tools and equipment to keep up with the baby’s vitals
  • Using tools such as forceps responsibly to avoid placing pressure on the baby
  • Having a specialist that can monitor the baby’s progress continually
  • Communicating with other staff constantly in case of birth complications or use of medication

Wyatt’s cerebral palsy was created by a lack of communication and carelessness that gave the way to the irregular contractions and Wyatt’s brain injury and conditions later in life. Wyatt’s permanent predicament was avoidable, and families that suffer from neglect have the right to compensation.

Procedures After Suspected Negligence

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that can create an innumerable amount of financial debt for the family to pay. If the parents suspect that their child’s brain damage and cerebral palsy were caused by medical neglect, they should contact specialized cerebral palsy lawyers and make plans for a settlement.