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Couple claim medical negligence in delivery of daughter

Couple state daughter suffered injuries while being delivered

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
The Northwest New Mexico Women's Health Specialists, LLC office at 610 W. Pinon St. in Farmington is pictured on Monday. A member of the practice, Dr. Daniel Chang, is accused of injuring a baby during delivery at San Juan Regional Medical Center in May 2012.
  • The complaint states their daughter has been diagnosed with permanent injuries including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
  • The incident occurred on May 20, 2012, at San Juan Regional Medical Center.
  • Hospital spokeswoman declined comment on the litigation.

FARMINGTON — A couple has filed a lawsuit against San Juan Regional Medical Center and a Farmington medical clinic citing medical negligence in the delivery of their daughter that caused severe and debilitating injuries following her birth.
Adam and Jolinda Morrissey filed the lawsuit against the hospital and Northwest New Mexico Women's Health Specialists, LLC on July 20 in district court, according to court records.
The complaint accuses Dr. Daniel Chang of causing a brain hemorrhage to the couple's daughter when he used a vacuum extraction during the baby’s delivery on May 20, 2012, at the hospital, according to a copy of the complaint.
The complaint states the couple’s daughter has been diagnosed with permanent injuries, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy. It states she also suffers severe and prolonged seizures.
Adrian Vega, the Morrissey's Albuquerque-based attorney, and Dr. Chang did not respond to requests for comment.
Hospital spokeswoman Laura Werbner declined to comment, stating federal and state law prohibits the hospital from discussing its patients, She also said and the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.
Vega is pursuing unspecified damages for past and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, non-medical expenses and for pain and suffering, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit claims Dr. Chang did not follow procedure while trying to deliver the baby.
Dr. Chang is accused of trying to deliver the baby by vacuum extraction within an hour of the mother starting delivery.
The couple claims a doctor should wait about three hours during delivery to use the method, according to the complaint.
The baby was allegedly "not lined up to come straight down the birth canal" and the cup of the vacuum was allegedly not safely attached to the baby's head when Dr. Chang allegedly used the vacuum, according to court documents.
He is accused of using the vacuum for about four to five minutes and pulling on the baby three times while attempting to deliver her.  A C-section was later performed to deliver the baby.
The lawsuit states the couple's daughter started having seizures within about 30 hours of being born.
A trip to the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque revealed their daughter had "extensive" hemorrhaging on the left side of her brain, according to court documents. 
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.