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
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like