Infections uncovered

An autopsy of the baby born to Roshunda Abney, the 25-year-old Las Vegas woman who waited to be treated for more than five hours at University Medical Center, found that an infection caused Abney’s water to break, resulting in a child born almost 15 weeks premature, Clark County coroner’s records show.

After leaving UMC’s emergency room on Nov. 30 and going to Valley Hospital Medical Center — where she says she was turned away — Abney went home and gave birth to a baby girl, who died.

Could the baby, named Angel, whose age was pegged at about 25 weeks by the coroner’s office, have lived with prompt medical care?

“Our office can’t answer that question,” Coroner Michael Murphy said. “That’s outside the purview of this office. We don’t get into quality of care issues. … Clinicians will have to roll up their sleeves to determine that.”

Toxicology tests showed no evidence of “drugs of abuse” or alcohol in the baby.

Studies done by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development of early pre-term births in hospitals between 1998 and 2002 found that about half of all babies born at the 25th week survived in a hospital setting.

Jacob Hafter, who has filed lawsuits on behalf of Abney, her fiance and their child against both UMC and Valley Hospital, said the autopsy “validates everything we thought. There is a strong chance of viability if the baby is born in the right environment. It is absolutely tragic that these two hospitals failed to help this young woman.”

Abney is now in Mississippi and was unavailable for comment.

Hafter alleged that both UMC and Valley violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, EMTALA, for failure to screen and treat Abney. In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ruled that UMC committed an EMTALA violation.

Hafter said he recently sought a $225,000 settlement with UMC. That followed an April 8 ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt, which said EMTALA does not pre-empt a state sovereign immunity law, which limits damages against government entities to $75,000 per claim. UMC is operated by Clark County.

“They’re fighting the settlement for my three clients — which works out to $75,000 a claim — when they’ve already been found guilty of an EMTALA violation,” Hafter said. “What they’re doing is wasting taxpayers’ money. The attorney for UMC makes money at taxpayer expense billing up hours when there is no case. No jury is going to rule against this family after what was done at UMC. UMC should be trying to expedite things for this family.”

Hafter categorized UMC attorney Lynn Hansen as “tight” with UMC Chief Executive Officer Kathy Silver. Hafter said he was not suggesting that Silver was trying to help enrich Hansen, but he said he does find “their relationship interesting because this kind of thing has happened in many other cases where UMC had no defense.”

UMC spokesman Rick Plummer does not buy Hafter’s argument: “I’m sure Mr. Hafter would want nothing more than for UMC to just settle, but we’re waiting to evaluate the medical aspects of the case from the coroner’s office.”

Plummer added: “Ms. Hansen has had a friendly, professional relationship with Kathy Silver. Ms. Hansen has worked on UMC matters since 1987 and has never associated with Kathy outside the professional relationship.”

In his order, Hunt also discussed Valley Hospital, which is private. He said the state’s $350,000 damage cap in malpractice cases does not apply to federal EMTALA violations. If a jury found in Abney’s favor, it could award any damages it chose.

“Valley Hospital was the safety net in this case,” Hafter said. “But they were rude to my client, didn’t want to help her. They’re just as responsible as UMC was.”

Kenneth M. Webster, an attorney for Valley, said the facility maintains its staff “acted appropriately at all times and Ms. Abney chose to leave the facility on her own accord without giving Valley the opportunity to render any evaluation or care.”

Webster added that because hospital officials have not had the opportunity to see or review the report from the coroner’s office, they cannot comment on its findings.

Dr. John Nowins, who practices internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology in Las Vegas, said the infections that led to Abney’s premature delivery — acute chorioamnionitis and acute funisitis — are well-known to clinicians.

Chorioamnionitis is a condition in which the membranes that surround the fetus and amniotic fluid in which the fetus floats are infected by bacteria. Funisitis refers to an inflamed or infected umbilical cord.

The infections usually start in the mother’s urogenital tract, moving up to the uterus where the fetus is.

When women first come in for prenatal care, Nowins said, doctors try to ensure that they rid the woman of any infections.

“We want a birth canal that is clean and clear,” he said.

But Abney, who has said she did not know she was pregnant, did not have prenatal care.

After state and federal investigations, UMC put into place a series of corrective actions, including removing certified nursing assistants from all assessment work and putting in place early triage by a registered nurse.

Nowins said the delivery of a baby at 25 weeks of pregnancy means specialists are needed immediately.

“This is a tough, tough case,” he said. “When you have a lady with no prenatal care who doesn’t know she’s pregnant for months and who isn’t immediately treated as pregnant, you’re looking at something very high risk.”

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@review
journal.com or 702-387-2908.

ad-high_impact_4
News
See Hollywood Memorabilia for Free This Week
Looking for something free to do this week? Julien's Auctions viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. Hundreds of iconic movie and television items are on display, including designs and props from Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe's undergarments, costumes from "Superman III," "The Nutty Professor" (1963), "Roseanne" and more. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Las Vegans Pack Public Lands Open House
A crowd filled the Clark County Library conference room Tuesday afternoon where Clark County officials hold their first -- and possibly only -- public meeting on plans to open almost 39,000 acres of federal land for development just outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area. County commissioners are set to vote June 19 on a potentially controversial resolution seeking federal legislation that would set aside tens of thousands of acres for conservation while giving Nevada’s largest community more room to grow. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police search Henderson Constable's home and office
Las Vegas police served search warrants Tuesday at Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell's home and office. The investigation was sparked by a Las Vegas Review-Journal story showing Mitchell wrote himself $70,000 in checks, used ATMs at casinos and video poker bars, and traveled to places his adult children live. All using county funds. Police refused to comment but Mitchell's attorney said he did nothing wrong.
Vegas Golden Knights fans shows his colors for community
Vegas Golden Knights superfan Lynn Groesbeck has wrapped his new truck with Knights logos and images. He loves how the Golden Knights are bringing community back to Las Vegas. People stop him on the street to take photos and share his support. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Acting Coach Daryl Morris on His Craft
Acting coach Daryl Morris, whose father Bobby was Elvis Presley's conductor in Las Vegas, discusses his craft and how he leads his own classes. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Constable wanted county funds to fight Review-Journal investigation
The Las Vegas Review-Journal asked for public records to investigate constable spending. But Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell hired outside counsel to fight the request. And he wanted the county to pay nearly $7,500 for those attorneys. The county declined. And records show the constable's office owes taxpayers $700,000. County officials said the money will be repaid over three years. Mitchell abandoned his re-election before the Review-Journal story ran.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like