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Improperly managed birth led to infant's death: plaintiffs

Type:

Verdict-Defendant

State:

Georgia

Venue:

Muscogee County

Court:

Muscogee County, Superior Court

Injury Type(s):

other-death; other-shoulder dystocia; pulmonary/respiratory-asphyxia

Case Type:

Wrongful Death; Medical Malpractice - OB-GYN, Childbirth, Failure to Monitor, Negligent Treatment

Case Name:

Kala Sharee Williams and Anthony Williams, individually and as surviving parents and personal representatives of the Estate of Xavier A. Williams, deceased v. Alabama Obstetrics LLC and Thomas Nathan Malone, M.D., No. SU2010CV2238

Date:

May 26, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Anthony Williams (Male), 

Xavier A. Williams (Male, 1 Minute), 

Kala Sharee Williams (Female)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Jason B. Branch; Philips-Branch; Columbus, GA, for Anthony Williams, Xavier A. Williams, Kala Sharee Williams ■ Ben B. Philips; Philips-Branch; Columbus, GA, for Anthony Williams, Xavier A. Williams, Kala Sharee Williams

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Edith Gurewitsch; M.D.; OB-GYN; Baltimore, MD called by: Jason B. Branch, Ben B. Philips ■ Yvonne Gomez-Carrion; M.D; OB-GYN; Newton, MA called by: Jason B. Branch, Ben B. Philips

Defendant(s):

Alabama Obstetrics LLC, 

Thomas Nathan Malone, M.D.

Defense Attorney(s):

M. Scott Bailey; Huff, Powell & Bailey; Atlanta, GA, for Alabama Obstetrics LLC, Thomas Nathan Malone, M.D. ■ David L. Mize; Huff, Powell & Bailey; Atlanta, GA, for Alabama Obstetrics LLC, Thomas Nathan Malone, M.D.

Defendant Expert(s):

Michelle Owens; OB-GYN; Jackson, MS called by: M. Scott Bailey, David L. Mize

Insurer(s):

MAG Mutual Insurance Co. for Alabama Obstetrics and Malone

Facts:

On June 13, 2008, plaintiff's decedent Xavier A. Williams died during childbirth. Shoulder dystocia had been encountered during the birth, which reportedly led to the infant being asphyxiated. Xavier's mother, Kala Sharee Williams, and her partner, Anthony Williams, individually and on behalf of their late child, sued Thomas Nathan Malone, M.D. and his practice, Alabama Obstetrics LLC, alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death. On June 12, 2008, Kala Sharee Williams had been seen with pregnancy contractions at Doctors Hospital in Columbus. She was admitted and her obstetrician induced labor. Williams was determined to have high blood pressure by the obstetrics staff and the obstetrician ordered that her condition be monitored. The next day, obstetrician Thomas Malone became Williams' on-call doctor. Several hours later, Williams went into active labor. During this time, plaintiffs alleged that the infant's fetal heart rate monitor showed signs of distress. According to the plaintiffs, Malone attempted to remove the infant by the head using a Kiwi vacuum suction device. He was reportedly able to partially remove the child after several failed attempts, but the infant's shoulder and body became lodged in the birth canal due to shoulder dystocia, resulting in asphyxiation and death. The plaintiffs argued that Williams was not appropriately monitored during her active labor and there was a failure to timely and appropriately respond to signs of fetal distress on the fetal heart monitor by initiating a C-section after the initial attempt to perform an operative vaginal delivery failed. They further argued that Malone was negligent in his management of the infant's shoulder dystocia. The plaintiffs maintained that these two factors led to the infant's death during delivery. The plaintiffs' OB-GYN experts provided reports which concluded that the defendants did not appropriately monitor Williams or appropriately and timely respond to the clear signs of fetal distress or appropriately manage the infant's shoulder dystocia once encountered. The experts found that the standard of care had been breached in a number of ways. The defendants denied liability, arguing that the delivery and management of the shoulder condition were appropriate. The defense denied any departure from the standard of care. The defense's OB-GYN expert provided a report which found that the actions of Malone and the obstetrics staff had been appropriate.

Injury:

The plaintiffs alleged that Xavier Williams died from asphyxia when he was cut off from blood and oxygen due to compression of the umbilical cord when shoulder dystocia was encountered. Williams and her partner sought wrongful death damages corresponding to the full value of the infant's life. Damages were not actively disputed.

Result:

The jury found in favor of the defendants and a defense verdict was entered.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Gil McBride

Trial Length:

5  days

Trial Deliberations:

5  hours

Jury Vote:

unanimous

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs' and defense counsel.