Editor’s note: This essay was written as a Final Assignment for the Food Safety Litigation course at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and was selected by the professors as one of the top essays in the class. Denis Stearns, an attorney, and Bill Marler teach the course.
By Tami Kelley
My daughter became very sick when she was pregnant with her third baby. She was constantly nauseated and her stomach hurt so much that she couldn’t eat. She was treated in the emergency room and was told that she was either exaggerating, or looking for pain medication.
A week later, she was finally able to see her regular doctor. She discovered that she had a Salmonella infection. After being treated, she was able to quickly recover and all seemed well with the baby.
When it came time to have her scheduled csection, it became apparent that her baby was in distress. The baby was in distress and she was rushed to the operating room faster than expected. My daughter and I were in the operating room at the time the baby was born. The baby was not breathing and the color was purple. She was not breathing and was being treated by a pediatrician and other nurses. I watched them work on her and tried my best to get her to breath.
She made a small noise and I thought everything was going to be fine. I watched as the doctor shook her head no. They intubated that tiny baby. Then they rushed her out. For hours, nobody knew any other information. My granddaughter’s life was in danger. All the nurses and doctors at that hospital’s labor and delivery unit were trying to save her.
She hadn’t been getting enough oxygen since at least days prior to her scheduled c-section. She was so distressed by this lack of oxygen that she had a bowel movement in her womb just before giving birth. This caused her to exhale the meconium into her lungs. Because of the sticky meconium, they were having trouble with intubation.
She was intubated three more times in less than two hours. We were told that she was being transferred to the NICU at the Children’s Hospital and that someone was on the way to transport her. It was all blurred.
We had never even seen her, except for the scary moments in the operating area. We were informed by a representative from the children’s hospital that she was being treated to a traumatic brain injury. She was being cooled to prevent further damage to her brain.
We were able to observe her as she was being wheeled down the hall in her incubator to go to the children’s hospital.
She suffered from repeated seizures for most of the night. She was put under sedation and also received plasma. My daughter was allowed out of the hospital the following day to be with her baby. We were able to all make it to the children’s hospital.
When we arrived, no one was allowed to touch her. To touch her, we could only reach into the tiny NICU mattress. Her ventilator was still in use and she had monitors attached to her head to check for seizures. We were all afraid because there were wires everywhere. Her condition worsened just a few days later. Instead of being told by doctors that we were progressing day by day, they were telling us that we were moving minute by minute.
We were told that if she made it, she would have to spend a long time in the NICU. Nobody was allowed to touch her at this time. The nurses were instructed to perform their duties as fast as possible to ensure that she received the least stimulation possible. To keep out more light, her bed was enclosed by curtains. Her organs were failing, her tiny body was bloated and she was totally dependent on the ventilator.
She began to improve. She needed a little less ventilator help each day, and she was doing more of her own breathing. Her parents finally had the opportunity to hold her when she was nine days old. Although she was still in NICU for three more weeks, everyone was amazed at how quickly her health was improving.
During my time in the NICU, tests revealed that brain damage was caused by oxygen deprivation before and during birth. My daughter and her son-in law were not able to tell them what this meant for their baby as she grew. They were basically told that they would have to wait and see what she could do. For the fi