Suit says hospital staff wrongly declared infant dead

By Lawrence Smith | Aug 7, 2009

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County couple say both they and their newborn baby were traumatized permanently when staff at a Charleston hospital informed them the baby died only to later discover he was in fact alive.

Charleston Area Medical Center, Pediatrix Medical Group and Dr. Davangere M. Jayaram are named as co-defendants in medical malpractice suit filed by Carmela and Joseph Newhouse of Elkview. In their complaint filed July 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court, the Newhouses allege Jayaram, and staff from Pediatrix and CAMC misinformed them of the death of their son, Camren, who is now permanently injured after his premature removal from life-support systems.

According to court records, the Newhouses sought help from Pediatrix and Jayaram at CAMC's Women's and Children's Hospital immediately after he was born July 3, 2008. Since his birth certificate shows he was born at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, Camren was taken to Women's and Children's due to apparent complications.

Though not specified in court records, the complications were very serious as staff and Jayaram informed the Newhouses Camren was "dead." However, when Camren was given to Joseph to hold for the last time, he detected faint hints of life.

The Newhouses' suit alleges that it took 28 minutes for hospital staff to make a determination that Camren was breathing when "at such time resuscitation efforts resumed." Due to him being deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period, the Newhouses maintain that Camren has suffered "permanent and irreversible neurological defect and damage."

That damage, the Newhouses allege, resulted in Camren incurring unnecessary medical expenses, and a loss of future earning capacity. This has also caused them to suffer annoyance, inconvenience, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

They are seeking unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees.

The Newhouses are represented by Richard Lindsay II with the Charleston law firm of Tabor Lindsay and Associates.

The case is assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 09-C-1362

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