Cook County Record

Friday, September 20, 2019

Mother alleges negligence after son's delivery-related death

By Dan Harkins | Jul 14, 2015

A mother is suing a hospital, two doctors and their practices, alleging fatal decisions they made to prolong her baby's delivery by cesarean section.

Nerissa Conley, as administrator of the estate of Thomas Irving Conley Jr., filed a lawsuit July 7 in Cook County Circuit Court against Little Company of Mary Affiliated Services Inc., Women's Healthcare Affiliates, Our OBGYN, Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, Dr. Jessica L. Sulkowski and Dr. Ramya Narayanan, alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, on July 16, 2013, Nerissa Conley went to the labor and delivery unit of Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park for delivery to be induced. The suit says a fetal heart monitor was placed on her womb and within 20 minutes, the fetus had "one late and two variable heart rate decelerations."

Until a nurse called Sulkowski at 8:15 p.m., the fetus' heart rate showed "persistent minimal variability," the lawsuit states. Sulkowki made no indication she was coming to the hospital then, the lawsuit states, and less than an hour later the nurse paged Sulkowski about the mother and fetus' status. She didn't come then either, the suit says.

At 9:22 p.m., the suit says, Narayanan reviewed the fetal monitor strip and performed a vaginal inspection and at 9:40 p.m., Narayanan called Sulkowski, who then said she was coming and to have the mother ready for a C-section. At 10:26 p.m., Sulkowki was at Conley's bedside, the lawsuit states. At 10:46 p.m., the fetal monitor was disconnected and she was transferred to the operating room, where Conley's son was delivered at 11:24 p.m., the suit says. He died one hour later at 12:24 a.m. July 17, 2013.

The suit alleges Sulkowki was negligent for failing to come promptly to the hospital for a patient with poor fetal heart rate, adequately assess fetal health and deliver the baby within a half-hour of determining that a C-section was needed.

The suit alleges Narayanan failed to adequately assess fetal well-being, and deliver Thomas Jr. within 30 minutes of the decision to perform a C-section.

The plaintiff alleges nine counts of medical negligence.

Nerissa Conley seeks damages in excess of the court's jurisdictional limit, plus costs. She is represented by attorney Elizabeth A. Kaveny of Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny in Chicago.

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