By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
Two families have recently filed lawsuits accusing a Lewis County midwife of negligence that led to birth injuries and, in one case, an infant’s death.
“They just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said attorney Sim Osborn, who represents the plaintiffs in each case. “It’s just a horrible situation for these families.”
In April, Kylie Frost and Zachariah Sprague filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Laura Hamilton in Cowlitz County Superior Court.
According to the suit, Frost began passing blood clots in December 2014, 39 weeks into her pregnancy. Hamilton allegedly told Frost the bleeding was normal and would not see her.
Hamilton later agreed to see Frost after a nurse at Providence Centralia Hospital advised Frost that she needed to be seen by a medical professional.
Hamilton allegedly then put Frost in a hot tub for an hour, then had her lie on a bed. The bleeding continued, according to the lawsuit.
As her contractions increased in frequency, Frost felt a strong pain in her abdomen. After that point, Hamilton could no longer detect a fetal heart rate and called 911. The baby, named Oliver, was stillborn.
“Had Mrs. Frost been transported to the hospital when she passed the blood clots, Oliver would have survived,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit asks for unspecified damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and other causes.
“Obviously it’s devastating when you lose a child … that should never have been lost and it was their firstborn child,” Osborn said.
Last week, another family filed a malpractice lawsuit against Hamilton in Lewis County Superior Court.
Scott and Seng Hamilton’s lawsuit regards the April 2016 birth of their son, Zachary, during which the infant received a brachial plexus injury and permanent nerve damage and paralysis in one arm.
Scott Hamilton is distantly related to Laura Hamilton, according to the Osborn Machler law firm, representing the plaintiffs in each case.
According to the lawsuit, Laura Hamilton “used excessive traction and pulled and twisted Zachary’s head and neck to attempt to deliver him.”
The suit asks for unspecified damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and other causes.
“The child has a significant brachial plexis injury,” Osborn said. “There’s going to be care required for the rest of his life.”
In 2015, a Lewis County jury ruled in favor of Hamilton in a similar malpractice lawsuit.
That suit, filed in 2014 on behalf of a child born in 2010, accused Hamilton of negligence during the birth, causing a brachial plexus injury and permanent nerve damage.
After a two-week-long trial, the jury ruled Hamilton was not negligent.
The case is currently being appealed. Osborn said he could not comment on that case.
Laura Hamilton declined to comment when contacted by The Chronicle.