(Lander, WY) – SageWest Health Care is currently facing a lawsuit after a baby reportedly “suffered severe injuries during her birth” in 2017 at the Lander campus.
Her parents, Tyler McKinney and Kimberly Gustafson, claim in the suit that due to SageWest’s “negligent acts and omissions,” she “suffered a severe and permanent brain injury” and “has cerebral palsy with catastrophic impairment of her cognitive and motor function.”
Unable to walk, talk or function independently, she requires continuous care and supervision. Something she will require for the rest of her life, the suit alleges.
Jan K. Siebersma, M.D. and Racine Headley, R.N. are also named as defendants in the suit.
SageWest shared they “are unable to comment on pending litigation matters.”
Labor and Delivery
Gustafson originally received her prenatal care in Houston, Texas, starting in April 2017, but relocated to Lander later that year.
She experienced a normal and healthy pregnancy, with her baby demonstrating good fetal movement throughout and normal anatomy scans, the court documents state.
At 37 weeks, Dr. Siebersma diagnosed Gustafson with polyhydramnios – the buildup of increased amniotic fluid. The baby was displaying appropriate growth for gestational age, and a planned induction was scheduled for 39 weeks.
On December 11, 2017, Gustafson arrived at SageWest Health Care in Lander for her induction due to polyhydramnios.
Court documents describe the labor by the hour from the time she arrived at approx. 7:31 a.m. to the time the baby was born at 2:47 p.m.
Labor included being medically induced, Gustafson’s water being artificially broken, the baby’s heart rate dropping, and the eventual delivery of a baby with “no spontaneous respirations, and no auscultated heart rate.”
A heartbeat wasn’t identified in Baby McKinney until 27 minutes after delivery, and at approx. three hours of life, she had to be flown to a hospital in Denver, Colorado, because she began experiencing seizure-like activity.
Imaging done at the Denver hospital confirmed brain damage, specifically hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), according to court documents. It also confirmed a large focal area of hemorrhage in the left cerebellum.
Baby McKinney remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for 24 days.
As a result of her severe brain injury, baby McKinney has suffered economic and noneconomic injuries, damages, and losses, the complaint states.
Her “injuries, damages, and losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent physical impairment and disfigurement, and other non-economic damages associated with having suffered a severe brain injury at birth,” the suit alleges.
Her parents, Tyler McKinney and Kimberly Gustafson, have now demanded a trial by jury on all issues triable of right by a jury and have requested judgment against the defendants for whatever amount the finder of fact finds baby McKinney is entitled, and such other relief deemed proper and just by the court.
The research appears to show the last lawsuit brought against SageWest Health Care was in 2021, when the Tillman family sued them after a family member died after being attacked by another patient. Court documents state they settled out of court in January 2023.