Obstetrician and Alton Memorial named in med mal complaint

Kelly Holleran Sep. 30, 2009, 6:10am

A Madison County woman and her husband have filed suit against Alton Memorial Hospital and one of its doctors, alleging an instrument used in the delivery of the couple's child has resulted in multiple problems including vaginal pain and incontinence.

Stephanie and Eugene Davenport claim Stephanie Davenport arrived at Alton Memorial Hospital on Sept, 30, 2007, to give birth to her second child.

According to the complaint filed Sept. 25 in Madison County Circuit Court, defendant Dr. Catherine L. Wikoff was Stephanie Davenport's doctor and was on hand to deliver the baby.

Doctors administered Pitocin to help with Stephanie Davenport's labor and by 5:57 p.m., she was fully dilated, the suit states.

At 6:05 p.m., Stephanie Davenport began pushing and finally delivered at 6:56 p.m., the complaint says.

"During this time, Dr. Wikoff and the anesthesiologist stepped into the hall, and Plaintiffs heard what sounded like a heated discussion but were unable to clearly hear the conversation," the suit states. "Upon their return, a KIWI vacuum device was utilized to complete the delivery."

Making Stephanie Davenport's delivery difficult was a large vaginal wall cyst that was somewhat obstructive, according to the complaint.

In Wikoff's discharge summary, she wrote Stephanie Davenport requested the vacuum assist after becoming exhausted, but Stephanie Davenport maintains she did no such thing.

"Plaintiff denies that she was exhausted, but even if same was true, Plaintiffs were never advised as to available and appropriate options and associated risks in order to make an informed decision between vacuum assist or cesarean section," the suit states. "These conversations should have taken place well in advance of the onset of labor such that the decision could be made prior to any difficulties or medication."

After the delivery of her child, Stephanie Davenport experienced severe swelling of the perineum, the suit states. In addition, Stephanie Davenport had multiple problems including vaginal pain and incontinence, the complaint says.

Because of her problems, Stephanie Davenport claims she has never been cleared to return to work, has been unable to engage in sexual relations, is unable to lift heavy objects or even her own children, is unable to take extended trips outside her home and is dependent on others to take care of her children, clean her house, wash clothes and help with other daily activities.

"As a result of the pain killers prescribed by the doctors treating these injuries, Stephanie Davenport developed a chemical dependence that had to be treated," the complaint says. "In approximately June of 2009, Stephanie Davenport underwent surgery to rebuild her pelvic floor."

More than likely, Stephanie Davenport will require additional surgeries, including the insertion of an artificial sphincter, a device used to treat urinary incontinence, according to the complaint. There is a strong chance she will never be able to have normal sexual relations again or have any more children, the complaint states. It also states that Stephanie Davenport will also probably remain unable to return to work and will remain on medication for the remainder of her life.

The Davenports blame Wikoff for failing to properly warn them of the risks associated with a vaginal delivery, for failing to warn them of the risks in a vacuum assisted delivery, for failing to inform them of the appropriateness of cesarean section, for failing to allow for the normal progression of the labor process, for failing to consider objections to her medical decision and for failing to discover the vaginal cysts.

They name Alton Memorial Hospital as a defendant because it employed Wikoff.

Stephanie Davenport claims she has experienced great pain and suffering, incurred economic hardship because of lost wages and incurred medical expenses.

Eugene Davenport has lost his wife's normal household chores and her assistance in taking care of the children and running of errands, the suit states. He also lost her society, companionship and sexual relationship, the complaint says.

In the 10-count suit, the Davenports are seeking a judgment of more than $500,000, plus costs.

They will be represented by Morgan Scroggins of Granite City.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1022.

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