CHEHALIS, Wash., May, 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a Lewis County family filed suit against a Chehalis midwife – the second lawsuit against the care provider this month – after one baby died and another was paralyzed during childbirth.
According to the complaint filed in Lewis County today by Scott and Seng Hamilton, midwife Laura Hamilton's misguided delivery tactics during their son's 2014 birth resulted in permanent paralysis and dysfunction in his arm and shoulder.
In the earlier suit filed last month in Cowlitz County, Kylie Frost and Zachary Sprague claim Hamilton ignored obvious signs of medical distress and failed to provide Frost with proper medical attention, which led to her unborn child's death.
These complaints follow a third lawsuit filed in 2014 by another Lewis County couple, claiming Hamilton's negligence during the birth of their child in 2010 permanently injured their infant's arm, resulting in severe nerve damage. The case is currently on appeal.
"This pattern of preventable, unthinkable outcomes is an outrage," said Sim Osborn, the attorney representing both families. "It's beyond comprehension that a woman who touts her skill and experience as a midwife could overlook such obvious signs of fetal distress in these births."
Frost's suit alleges that Hamilton waived off frantic calls from Frost, after Frost saw several "fist-sized" blood clots on December 2, 2014, at 39 weeks pregnant with her son, Oliver. According to Frost, Hamilton dismissed her initial concerns, telling her that the bleeding was nothing to worry about. However, Frost grew more concerned after passing additional blood clots, and contacted Hamilton three more times over the next hour. Hamilton refused to see her until Frost was dilated to five centimeters, according to the complaint.
Frost's mother-in-law, who was with her at the time, called Providence Hospital in Centralia seeking a second opinion. A nurse instructed her that Frost must be seen by Hamilton or come to the hospital immediately. After hearing the nurse's response, Hamilton relented and said Frost could come to her office in Centralia. Frost's mother-in-law drove her 30 minutes to Hamilton's office, arriving approximately 90 minutes after she first called asking for help, according to court documents.
Frost's contractions worsened as the bleeding continued over the next two hours, according to court records. The complaint states that after spending some time in a hot tub—as instructed by Hamilton— Frost felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. Hamilton then tried checking the fetal heart rate using an ultrasound, but was unable to detect a heartbeat. She then dialed 911, more than four hours after Frost had arrived at her office, the complaint states.
Frost was transported by ambulance to Centralia's Providence Hospital where doctors concluded the child was stillborn. Frost was forced to spend the night before surgeons could perform a caesarian section to remove the stillborn child, court records show. Frost and Sprague spent a few moments holding Oliver before burying him.
"Losing Oliver was absolutely devastating to me and my family, and I would never wish this type of pain on another mother," Frost said. "Laura Hamilton is a very familiar name in our community, but expectant parents have a right to know the truth about the unthinkable tragedies that happened to us and to other families, so they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their babies."
Scott and Seng Hamilton claim that Laura Hamilton used excessive traction and pulled and twisted their son Zachary Hamilton's head and neck while attempting to deliver him, causing him to suffer a brachial plexus injury and permanent nerve damage. Scott and Laura Hamilton are distant cousins.
Seng Hamilton said she contacted Laura Hamilton when she began having intense contractions three weeks before her due date, worried that the large size of her baby would cause complications, but the midwife initially dismissed her concerns. A few hours later, when the contractions quickened to every five minutes, the midwife agreed to come to Seng Hamilton's home.
"When Laura finally arrived, she was completely unprepared—except for an ancient ultrasound machine—and relied on me to have medical and birthing supplies. We were literally using puppy training pads," Seng Hamilton said. "I labored through horrible pain in my legs and spine, and when I couldn't push anymore, Laura yanked Zachary's head from side to side and pulled him out."
Seng Hamilton said that when her baby emerged, his face was purple and his right arm was like "a limp noodle." A friend who had come to witness the birth called 911, but when the EMTs arrived, Hamilton turned them away, Seng Hamilton claims.
Over the next nine months, Zachary Hamilton underwent two nerve graft surgeries, lasting from ten to twelve hours each. Today, movement in his right arm remains severely limited.
"The bottom line is that Hamilton has displayed a pattern of questionable judgment when delivering her clients' babies," Osborn said. "If only she had taken the proper actions when complications arose during Kylie's and Seng's deliveries, Oliver could have been saved and Zachary would have a fully functioning arm."
About Osborn Machler
The attorneys at Osborn Machler represent plaintiffs in personal injury, products liability, and professional malpractice cases. Osborn Machler is noted for taking difficult cases and successfully taking them to settlement or trial. The firm has extensive experience representing injured persons against federal, state, and local governments. You can learn more about the firm, its cases and expertise at www.osbornmachler.com.
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