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Baby declared dead ‘self-resuscitates,’ parents accuse Bayfront of negligence

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In April 2012, 28-year-old Desiree Little went into labor at Bayfront Hospital.

Complications forced Little to receive an emergency C-section for the birth of her son, T.J. Drake, named after Terrence Drake, the 27 -year-old father.

The parents, both St. Petersburg residents, were not married, nor were they in a relationship.

After numerous resuscitation attempts, doctors allegedly declared baby T.J. dead, just 10 minutes old and weighed seven pounds three ounces.

Twelve minutes later, doctors heard a “gasp,” according to the chart by Dr. Escoto. T.J. had reportedly “self-resuscitated.”

After spending a short period in the NICU, the critically ill infant was transferred to the nearby All Children’s Hospital. Over the next week, T.J. suffered from seizures, which required Phenobarbital and a full body edema.

T.J.’s parents allege they were advised on multiple occasions to withdraw life support; they declined. The baby survived and after two weeks was discharged.

The parents claim staff at Bayfront made a series of errors, which left their son with severe brain damage.

A medical negligence suit filed in Pinellas County court says T.J. was born with “permanent neurological injuries” directly caused by the “negligence of the said Defendants (Bayfront and various staff) as will be set forth hereinafter.”

Injuries include “brain damage from birth hypoxia and/or asphyxia.”

“Defendants deviated from the prevailing standard of care for said healthcare providers in their care and treatment of Desiree Little and her minor son, and such negligence resulted in severe and permanent injury to the child,” the suit continues.

The negligence claims focus on numerous errors in care, such as inadequate charting of events, an alleged rupturing of Little’s membranes by the improper placing of a fetal scalp electrode and abandoning resuscitative efforts of the child after only 10 minutes.

Doctors Hayes and Escoto are also accused of negligence resulting in the child’s brain damage.

Due to the extreme carelessness, the suit suggests that Little and Drake will be forced to spend substantial sums of money on baby T.J.’s medical care and treatment, including surgeries, rehabilitative therapy and occupational therapy. They are seeking damages from both the hospital and staff.

As David Best, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told FloridaPolitics.com: “I’ve been involved in hundreds of these types of cases and this one is real unusual.”

Best said that “there’s no written standard of care” as to a specific time limit on resuscitating still born babies.  “It’s a bit subjective and dependent on a few things, but I’ve spoken to a doctor who’s examined the kid, and he thinks they should have tried for at least 20 minutes.

“[T.J. is] doing wonderfully well,” Best said, “considering he was dead, but it’s still a little early to determine how badly brain damaged he is.”

Best said he was in the middle of amending the complaint as filed “purely for legal purposes” as the initial filing was “rushed” to beat the statute of limitations.

Bayfront has not yet responded to the complaint, and could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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