An easy pregnancy lead to only positive test results, doctors believed the birth of Zachary Diecker would be typical and he would return with his mother from the hospital only after a couple of days. But a series of medical errors driven by negligence, lack of oversight, and incompetence would end his life before he even left the hospital.
During labor, Zachary’s mother experienced complication after complication which was exacerbated by the staff’s mismanagement. She planned for a natural birth at a hospital aided by a midwife. But the midwife was an hour late and changed plans from the natural birth half way through labor. Zachary’s mother wasn’t dilated enough so the midwife manually broke her membrane lacerating baby Zachary’s head. After this ordeal, the midwife left the laboring mother alone with the nurse.
Two hours into labor Zachary was in distress, he was losing oxygen fast and it was suggested by hospital staff that they try vacuum delivery or a C section. But the doctor informed Zachary’s mother that because of the laceration on his head the vacuum delivery was not possible and that a C section was not necessary in spite of Zachary’s asphyxiation.
After four hours of constant pushing Zachary was finally born, but the extended lack of oxygen made him limp and colorless. From here, things progressively got worse. The pediatrician on call refused to come in and there were no others on staff. Zachary’s distressed parents waited over an hour for another pediatrician to arrive and in the meantime there was no one to care for the ailing baby Zachary. If emergency measures had been taken at this time, they could have slowed the brain damage that Zachary suffered from while he wasn’t receiving care. Eventually, he was taken to a sister hospital to run tests.
Doctor after doctor took tests for a variety of illnesses except for asphyxiation. One doctor even tested the baby for herpes because of the laceration on his head. Zachary started to have seizures and doctors responded by giving him adult doses of medication to stop the symptoms.
By the end of the day, Zachary was dead.
A long chain of gross negligence turned what was supposed to be a simple baby delivery into a nightmare. Doctors, midwives, and nurses at all steps of the process were directly responsible for Zachary’s death because of their poor quality of care. But because of MICRA’s noneconomic damage compensation cap, there would be no justice for the death of baby Zachary. Because the most they could be compensated is $250,000 and because of the complexity of the case, no lawyer would take it on. Because of MICRA, no one was held responsible and nothing was done to ensure this would not happen again to other parents in the future.