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My baby lost his life at Cedars 3.5 years ago

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A colleague at work just told me about your website. I hope our story can help in some way. It's still hard today to think about what happened. There are so many more details to this story than I can write today - but I am willing to share them all if you think it can help.

I was pregnant with our third child. I had some complications - several episodes of bleeding, the last of which I was admitted to Cedars. During this time, I was constantly monitored on fetal heart rate machines, etc. Everything seemed fine. After about a week, they checked him for lung development, and when the test came back positive (baby was ready), an obstetrician said we would do the cesarean section that evening (wasn't my regular OB). My husband and I were so excited to finally be able to see our first son. He already had such a strong personality - jumping around in my belly! Very active little kid.

They wheeled me down to the OR, and it seemed very busy that night. Two OBs were doing the surgery, and because he was early - they had a respiratory therapist in the room ready to give him oxygen if he needed it. Three pediatricians were also in the room (or so I thought at the time - I later learned they were all in training). Apparently during surgery, the OBs had trouble getting him out, and quickly gave me a "T" cut (a vertical section) to pull him out quickly. He was rushed over to the pediatricians, and they evaluated him. Apparently (reading later records), he was "blue and floppy" at first, but revived. The OBs sewed me up, and I was able to hold him for a few minutes before I went to the recovery room. My husband stayed with him as he headed for the nursery. My two daughters (4 and 7 at the time) were with a friend looking in through the nursery window. My husband later said that the nurse in the nursery just stared at our son, and didn't smile much. They put him in an "observational" nursery, which was just another part of the standard nursery. (we later heard the nurse wrote a letter to the administration, because she was so disturbed at what happened)

I became extremely ill from the morphine they gave me after the c-section. Since it was nearing midnight, my husband took my friend and our daughters home for the night. While he was out, a pediatrician came to me in the recovery room and said my son had just been rushed up to the NICU, and they thought it was a heart problem. I felt so alone and helpless, since I was still violently ill from the medication.

Once my husband returned, he spent the rest of the time in the NICU with him. The NICU didn't seem to have a handle on what was going on with him. My husband had to constantly push them to get another specialist to figure out what was going on. Early that next morning, he seemed to be doing OK, but quickly deteriorated over the next two days. The NICU team always seemed to be "fighting fires" without having an overall plan of attack. By the third day, he was having massive organ failure and brain hemorrhages. We had to make the heart wrenching decision to remove his life support. There is nothing like that feeling, and to this day, I cry when I think about the events and the loss of our beautiful son, Oliver.

We immediately began pursuing the hospital - we got all of my medical records and Oliver's records. We found a lawfirm to review them (based out of Chicago). They felt there was a strong case, but needed a local lawfirm to represent us against Cedars. Unfortunately, because of the state of medical malpractice in California ($250k cap on death cases), there were only one or two lawfirms who would consider the case. We ended up using one lawfirm and went into mediation with cedars (using a former judge as the mediator). The judge felt that if this went to a lawsuit, we would win - and advised the Cedars lawyers the same. They settled with us, and told us that Cedars changed procedures based on our case (although I don't know if that was just to appease us) and that all of the pediatricians involved that night were no longer at Cedars (not sure if it was because of our case, since it took over a year to settle).

One other interesting thing - the pediatric team agreed to meet with us after Oliver's autopsy report was completed. It took an extrodinarily long time for them to publish this, but we did end up having that meeting. I believe they had been briefed by lawyers, because they tried to cover their tracks. It was a wholely unsatisfying meeting that day, although I was happy to get all of my questions out in the open.

The conclusion was that after expert review of the medical files - Oliver suffered from massive blood loss (had to have been during birth - through the placenta), and the pediatricians never caught it. The three "pediatricians" in the OR with us were only in training (two young residents and one neonatalogist in training), and Oliver was never seen by an attending physician until he had "crashed" in the nursery and was whisked to the NICU. By then it was too late - his fate had been sealed by missing his initial problems.

Well, that's the general story. Let us know how we can help your endeavor. Maybe some good can come if we all band together.


Quaid Discusses Medical Mistakes

Quaid spoke at the HIMSS09 this year. Read this article of the discussion and speech that Dennis gave as a keynote speaker.

See the full article here...


Important Messsage

Our experience has shown that medication errors can and do occur at hospitals throughout the country, even the best ones like Cedars-Sinai. В We now want to work with hospitals to help support their efforts to eliminate medication errors.

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