A doctor’s negligence led to a heartbreaking loss — and a lawsuit to stop him from putting other babies at risk.
Garrett was our second miracle baby after seven years of infertility and the birth of our daughter. Pregnancy with Garrett progressed normally, but when the time came to deliver, I sensed something was wrong. Garrett’s heart rate was irregular, yet nobody seemed overly concerned at the hospital and we were left alone. I asked multiple times for a C-section but was initially turned down despite requesting one two weeks prior. The doctor had incorrectly charted that I did not want one.
When we finally convinced doctors that a C-section was necessary, Garrett’s vitals were dropping as the nurses wheeled me down the hallway to the operating room. They were calling out his heart rate, and our doctor promised that he could do the operation immediately once we were set up. When we arrived in the operating room, however, the doctor was still upstairs attending to another baby, but he had not called for help to cover us, either.
I had to undergo a stat C-section, and the doctor arrived only in time to deliver Garrett. By then our son was white and not crying. Garrett had been deprived of oxygen, and because the anesthesiologist also had no support in the operating room, he missed and hit Garrett’s stomach while trying to intubate him, causing further oxygen deprivation.
Garrett’s brain could only sustain basic life functions; he could not breathe on his own; and he would most likely live his life in a vegetative state. He lived for eight days in the children’s hospital before we made the decision to turn off his life support. The choice was heartbreaking, and Garrett lived through the night before passing away.
After Garrett’s death we, with the support of the nursing staff at the hospital, decided to take legal action. We did not want money; we simply wanted this doctor to never have the opportunity to neglect patients and babies again.
In court, hospital officials tried to explain Garrett’s oxygen deprivation in many ways, but the end-result never seemed logical. We were told that Garrett’s umbilical cord may have tangled resulting in the brain damage, yet he was a fully developed and healthy baby. Doctors speculated that Garrett was breech, yet they were still able to attach a scalp monitor to him. Furthermore, of the hospital’s 13 experts, 10 dropped out before the trial. We finally agreed to settle, but we didn’t want the money. You can’t place a value on a baby’s life, and that is why we feel we need to share Garrett’s story with the help of R Baby.
In reality, it was the doctor’s resistance to calling for additional help that hurt our son, and the hospital knew this. We lost our second child, our first-born son, solely due to doctor and hospital negligence. After a two-year trial that ended in settlement, the doctor lost all privileges to do another surgery or delivery, but there is still emptiness in our hearts. We believe that telling Garrett’s story will hopefully save other parents from losing a child.