For most, an injury to their new infant during birth would be a devastating occurrence—yet, for one Tennessee family, insult was added when Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville charged the family in full for the service, minus any kind of apology for any ill-treatment of their child.
Paul and Cecily Dantam of Kingston Springs, Tennessee don’t feel they are asking for much from the hospital. “I just want an apology. I don’t want to have to pay for an injury that was done to my daughter by the hospital staff. That’s not right to me,” Cecily explained.
On November 26 2017, the Dantams were admitted to Vanderbilt and attended to by their midwife in preparation for the birth of their daughter. When Cecily’s water did not break on its own, the attending midwife attempted to artificially rupture the amniotic sac with a device known as an amniotic hook. Cecily claims that the midwife repeatedly and forcibly used the tool for several minutes, all while commenting, “This is a tough water bag… this is so tough.”
Once little Lorelei was born, it was apparent that the midwife had not been attacking a tough water bag but gouging the baby’s head as deep scars were visible on her crown.
The family contacted the hospital and expressed both their concern and disappointment, yet the hospital sent a letter in reply that only acknowledged the infant requiring admission to the NICU after birth due to aspiration of amniotic fluid with no mention of the scarring. The hospital pointed out that the event was most likely due to the trauma of birth, but the Dantam’s point to the trauma of cutting into the child’s scalp. In an interview with News 2 in Nashville, the Director of the Vanderbilt Nurse Midwifery Practice, Melissa Davis, commented that, while not common, what happened to the Dantam’s child is acceptable. “When we are rupturing the membranes or breaking the water, if the membranes are very tightly pressed around the baby’s head, it can be more difficult than if they were looser and more like a balloon, so it is possible to cause a superficial abrasion to a baby’s head during that process,” said Davis.
Yet, the family is not satisfied with such a response. They shared pictures of their daughter’s head on social media that shows signs of significant lacerations and scarring—not what they consider to be accidental or routine. Following the posts, local news stations reached out for an interview with the couple, soon followed by hospital officials deciding to re-open the case.
If you have questions about birth injuries or medical malpractice in the state of Tennessee, attorney Thomas Greer with the firm Bailey and Greer would like to assist you. With offices in Memphis, Jackson and Nashville, a free consultation is just a phone call away—dial toll free: 877-819-4414 today.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained a $3.7 million jury verdict in a personal injury trucking case and a $500,000 wrongful death jury verdict in an auto accident case.