Huntington hospital, personnel sued over boy's birth

By Cara Bailey | Jun 22, 2007

Cabell Huntington Hospital

CHARLESTON - The parents of a boy born at Cabell Huntington Hospital have filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and those who assisted in his birth.

Michelle Rife Sizemore and Michael Sizemore filed a suit June 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court on behalf of their son, Michael D. Sizemore. The suit names Cabell Huntington, University Physicians and Surgeons, the Marshall University Board of Governors, physicians Lisa Burke, Kerri George and Bruce Ratcliff, as well as Sarah B. Coyle, R.N, as defendants.

According to the suit, Michael D. Sizemore was born May 13, 2005, at Cabell Huntington Hospital after an induced labor.

The suit, filed by attorney Erica S. Harich, claims Michelle Sizemore was given Pitocin to induce her labor May 12, 2005. During the day, as her labor progressed, the suit claims the fetal heartbeat decelerated. At about 6:50 p.m., the heart rate dropped to the 100s for about 80 seconds before it returned to a baseline of 120s, the suit says. However, the Pitocin was continued until around 8:35 p.m., when George ordered it stopped.

The fetal heart rate continued to decrease and increase during the labor, until the baby was delivered.

"At birth baby Michael was blue, not breathing, had no heartbeat, and had a scalp hematoma with a laceration," the suit says.

The suit says the infant was struggling to survive due to the persistent lack of oxygen to his brain pursuant to the decelerations.

Michael Sizemore survived, and now has severe permanent medical and neurological conditions, including spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, seizures, decreased life expectancy.

The Sizemore's claim the defendants failed to properly manage the labor and delivery of Michelle Sizemore and her then unborn son, which includes recognizing signs of fetal distress.

According to the suit, Michael and Michelle Sizemore has suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of their child's society, companionship, consortium, support and services. They seek judgment to fully and fairly compensate them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1135

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