A Cimarron couple is suing two Dodge City physicians and Western Plains Medical Complex, alleging that their actions caused the couple's newborn child to suffer severe brain injuries.


     A Cimarron couple is suing two Dodge City physicians and Western Plains Medical Complex, alleging that their actions caused the couple's newborn child to suffer severe brain injuries.
     Earlier this month, Michael and Christy May filed a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking more than $75,000 in damages — a general amount that may change as the case moves closer to trial. The lawsuit names the following defendants:
     Dr. Tanya Williams, Dr. Samir Shaath, Western Plains Medical Complex,
     Western Plains' parent company, LifePoint Hospitals, and several registered nurses employed by the hospital.
     The lawsuit centers on the events surrounding the March 2010 birth of the Mays' son, Jaxson May.
     According to court documents, Williams provided medical care for the management of Christy May's pregnancy in 2010. May was at 14 weeks gestation at the time of her initial obstetric consult, and her prenatal care was unremarkable except for gall bladder issues
     May was at 38 weeks gestation on March 4, 2010, when she was admitted to the hospital for elective induction of labor.
     Before May was admitted to the hospital, she discussed the possibility of inducing labor with Williams, according to the lawsuit. Williams allegedly told May that the hospital's standard protocol was to use the inducing agents Misoprostol — also known as Cytotec — and Oxytocin to induce labor.
     "Plaintiff Christy May was concerned about the use of Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec, and Oxytocin," the lawsuit said. "Defendant Williams advised Plaintiff Christy May that she had personally used these two inducing agents without any complications. Defendant Williams also advised Plaintiff Christy May that her delivery would be fine."
     Hospital employees placed a fetal heart rate monitor on May shortly after her admission and administered Cytotec, according to the lawsuit. An epidural for pain relief was placed early the next morning and Oxytocin was administered about four hours later, but it was discontinued at 10:20 a.m.
      Williams reviewed the fetal heart rate strip nine minutes later, and May was instructed to push to expedite the delivery. Then at 10:32 a.m., staffers noted severe bradycardia — relatively slow heart action  — in the unborn child.
     Fourteen minutes later, Williams attempted vacuum extraction — a method of assisting delivery — at least twice to expedite the delivery, according to the lawsuit. May was later prepped for a Caesarean section, and Shaath performed the operation shortly after 11 a.m.
     The lawsuit said at the time of surgery, May's uterus was ruptured with fetal expulsion.
     A review of the fetal heart rate monitor showed a significant slowing of the heart rate that lasted about 31 minutes, according to the lawsuit. But because the delivery occurred shortly after 11 a.m., the total time of the slower heart rate was about 40 minutes.
     Medical staffers noted the presence of bloody amniotic fluid after Jaxson was born, and his initial heart rate was 60, according to the lawsuit. Staffers used various methods to boost his heart rate, including chest compressions.
     "Narcan was provided at 11:06 hours, and then Jaxson was intubated at 11:10 hours," the lawsuit said.  "Bed heat was turned off for Jaxson in an attempt to cool the baby."
     Staffers also noticed that the baby had abnormal movements with activity, and seizures were suspected, according to the lawsuit. A dose of phenobarbital was administered, and initial blood gas results indicated metabolic acidosis —a condition that occurs when there is too much acid in the bodily fluids.
     "At this point, Dr. Lyle Smith diagnosed Jaxson May with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, possible sepsis and respiratory distress," the lawsuit said. "Arrangements were made to transport Jaxson May by airlift to Wesley Medical Center."
     Smith is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

     The baby was transported to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where he remained for the next 23 days, according to the lawsuit. During his stay, a doctor noted that Jaxson was suffering various ailments, including respiratory depression and seizures.
     One year after Jaxson's birth, another doctor said she believed the baby was suffering from microcephaly with spastic quadriplegia — a form of cerebral palsy, according to the lawsuit.
     The lawsuit alleges that May's physicians and nurses failed to respond properly to the baby's fetal monitor strip and did not do appropriate tests to ensure his well-being. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that their actions caused the baby to suffer damage to his central nervous system.
     Dodge City attorney Brad Ralph, who represents Western Plains, said Friday the lawsuit has not been served on the hospital or the registered nurses. He said he was not familiar with either of the doctors.
     "Without an opportunity to review the allegations, it would not be appropriate to comment on any issues regarding patient care at this time," Ralph said.
     The Mays' attorney, Richard Marquez of Garden City, was not available for comment.

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9017 or email him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.