$10.3M Verdict: DigiStrip Charts Oxygen Deprivation From Umbilical Cord Compression

Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX

A child with cerebral palsy received a $10.3M verdict after nurses chose not to call the doctor to report worsening decelerations of the baby’s heart rate that occurred over approximately half-an-hour as the baby’s umbilical cord was compressed. We built Laura Brown, Esq., a custom interactive DigiStrip® timeline to chart this massive gap in negligence.

Learn more about what High Impact’s DigiStrip can do, below the story.

The DigiStrip is an interactive timeline that is customized for any case where fetal heart monitoring is a critical focal point.

Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX
The jury was fascinated with the DigiStrip. It was very easy to use the DigiStrip with our nursing and maternal-fetal medicine experts to teach them how to identify the baseline heart rate. It was also very effective to cross-examine defense witnesses who tried to claim that the decelerations were not significant. It was important for the jury to see and understand the decelerations below the baseline, which began as subtle changes but developed into very significant, easily identifiable changes that the nurses should have understood and reported immediately to the doctor. The highlighted boxes that can be inserted and moved on the fly were excellent to identify problem areas.
Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX

The Story

When the mother was first admitted to the hospital and placed on an external fetal heart monitor, the baby’s heart rate showed signs of being reactive and reassuring for more than 48 hours. Shortly after midnight, there were decelerations of the baby’s heart rate. The first deceleration was subtle. The second deceleration, below the baseline, lasted about seven minutes. There was no doctor in-house at this hospital on this Sunday night, and the nurses chose not to call the patient’s doctor at home.

About 10 minutes later, there was an abrupt deceleration of the baby’s heart rate down to the 75 beats-per-minute (BPM) range, which did not return to baseline. The charge nurse saw the deceleration but chose not to call the doctor because she wanted to watch the heart rate to get a clear picture of what to tell the doctor. Ten minutes later, the baby’s heart rate dropped to the 65 BPM range and the tracing of the heart rate was lost. The nurse waited 18 minutes from the abrupt deceleration to the 75 BPM range to call the doctor.

The doctor sped to the hospital. When he arrived, the nurses were searching for the heart rate on Doppler. He ordered a STAT cesarean section. When the baby was delivered, the umbilical cord was found to be wrapped very tightly around the baby’s neck twice. The baby was care-flighted to a children’s hospital for head cooling. He suffered a severe injury to the deep grey matter of his brain and was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy - and later cerebral palsy.

The Defense claimed the brain injury was caused by an infection from chorioamnionitis, vasculitis, and funisitis, which were evident in the placental findings. The Defense also suggested that there was evidence of brain malformations on the MRI scans that indicated a possible genetic condition as a cause of the injury.

Laura Brown, Esq., needed to show jurors the egregious amount of time nurses waited to call the Doctor, and emphasize how that decision prolonged the infant’s oxygen deprivation. We built Ms. Brown a custom DigiStrip timeline to chart this massive gap of negligence.

Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX
We won the case because the jury understood that these changes were identifiable and signaled that the baby was in trouble. I had several blow-up boards of sections of the strip which I used at different times in conjunction with the Digistrip, but boards alone would not have been as effective to teach the jury how fetal heart rate monitoring is supposed to work to protect a baby.
Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX

What is the DigiStrip?

The only communication a baby has with the outside world from inside the mother’s womb is a heartbeat. Hospitals monitor this heartbeat, and the results are printed out on a physical strip of paper called a Fetal Monitoring Strip.

The Digistrip® is a High Impact product we build and customize to present Fetal Monitoring Strips within a virtual workspace that gives you full interactive control over the timeline.

  • Scroll backward and forward in time.
  • Zoom in and out of vital points of interest.
  • Highlight a multitude of specific details using multi-colored highlighters.
  • Draw attention to critical points of contention using a set of drawing tools.
  • Annotate key concepts throughout the timeline using custom labels.
  • Bookmark important points in time you can skip to during your presentation.
  • Command complete control over the presentation of your evidence.

High Impact can build and customize your Digistrip for any presentation in which an infant’s fetal monitoring strip is a focal point in your case.

Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX
The defense lawyers did not have a digitized strip and repeatedly tried to hijack mine. I will use DigiStrip in every case involving a fetal heart monitor strip.
Laura Brown, Williams & Brown, LLP, Waco, TX

High Impact’s team of visual strategists, artists and developers can build and customize your digital presentation for any case involving personal injury, medical malpractice, birth trauma - or any subject involving complex information.

Interested in working with us? Click here to get started. If you'd prefer, you can email us or call us at (800) 749 2184.

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