Attorneys offered competing theories surrounding a child’s profound birth-related, brain injury, as trial opened last week against a Georgia hospital and an obstetrician. Threat v. Gamble-Webb, et al., 19-C-00101-S1.
January Threat was born in October 2017 with severe brain damage, and her mother, Eulanda Threat, was forced to undergo an emergency hysterectomy following catastrophic birth-related complications at Monroe, Georgia’s Clearview Regional Medical Center. January’s parents claim the baby’s heart rate was not properly monitored and Dr. Kendra Gamble-Webb failed to properly respond to the baby’s severe oxygen deprivation.
During openings last Tuesday, Mahaffey Pickens Tucker’s Steven Pickens walked jurors through Threat’s induced labor and delivery, which lasted more than 7 hours. Pickens said during much of the labor, Threat was tachysystolic, or having contractions that are too close together. He contended that, while this drove the baby’s heart rate dangerously low during labor, her heart monitor detached, leaving January’s heart rate inadequately tracked. He added that Threat likely suffered an amniotic fluid embolism, depriving January of oxygen, and that Gamble-Webb failed to perform a Cesarean section in time to prevent January’s catastrophic brain damage.
“When a baby’s oxygen is cut off, not just every minute matters,” Pickens said, “every second matters.”
But the defense contends the amniotic fluid embolism that caused January's brain injury could not have been predicted and that the medical professionals responded appropriately to the life-threatening emergency. During his opening statement, Hall Booth Smith’s Terrell Benton previewed medical records he said showed the mother and child’s vital signs were tracked and treated appropriately. He added that, at the time Gamble-Webb was last called to the delivery room, Eulanda Threat’s blood pressure suddenly dropped and she had become unresponsive. Gamble-Webb, Benton said, acted appropriately in moving to save Eulanda’s life before performing a C-section.
“If we don’t save the mother’s life, we can’t save the baby’s life,” Benton said. “We can’t just assign someone else… to save the mother’s life when they’re not there.”
The case is expected to go to the jury later this week.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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