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IU Health's Understaffing of Pregnancy Centers for Poor Has Consequences

In our blog published on August 6 ,2015, we focused on a federal "whistleblower" lawsuit against IU Health for replacing OBGYN's with nurse midwifes. The allegations are that IU Health took federal money for doctors to treat high risk pregnancies for poor women, but only had nurse midwives provide care. Federal rules (and the medical standard of care) require an MD treat these patients. The lawsuit commenced after whistleblower and former HealthNet maternity center medical director, Dr. Judith Robinson, came forward with firsthand knowledge of how IU Health was putting pregnant mothers at risk.

Malpractice victims are now starting to come forward, claiming mishandled pregnancies and deliveries, and then being stonewalled by IU Health when they tried to ask questions. One such victim is Dorothy Creek Riggle. Riggle's pregnancy was deemed high-risk. Her water broke early in her pregnancy. Later she went to the hospital and her daughter was over 10 pounds. She was getting ready to deliver and notified the nurse that she needed to get the doctor, as she was having a C-section, something that Riggle and her doctor had previously discussed. Tragically, the nurse waited too long to make the call and bring in a doctor to help with the delivery. Her daughter suffered serious, permanent injuries due to a lack of oxygen during delivery as a result.

The lid needs to be blown off this dark secret and the light of Justice allowed in. We are likely going to see more tragic stories like this. It appears that the largest health care company in Indiana has chosen to intentionally put profits over the safety of women and children.

As we hear these real life examples, I also hope we begin to have a larger conversation about why Indiana law protects medical providers like IU Health. We have a statute that allows medical providers to stonewall injured patients, and even caps their liability far below what is fair. Our malpractice cap has not been raised in nearly two decades. Children born with permanent brain injuries and other disabilities due to malpractice are limited to a total recover of $1.25 million. All current and future medical expenses, expenses incurred by the family, and future limitations on employment due to their physical and mental disabilities are covered by this one-size-fits-all cap on the damages suffered by the child.

It is time to expose wrongdoing by IU Health, and it is time to change Indiana's Medical Malpractice laws.

Source

Chapman, Sandra. "Babies At Risk: Mother Claims Botched Delivery and Missing Health Records." 13 WTHR. 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 3 Sept. 2015. <http://www.wthr.com/story/29773736/babies-at-risk-mother-claims-botched-delivery-and-missing-health-records>.

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