Caroline Malatesta searched for a facility where she would have control over her birth plan, for her fourth baby.
She had chosen Birmingham’s Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, as they advertised everything she was looking for from touted birth tubs to wireless fetal monitoring.
Malatesta arrived at the center fairly far along in her labor the AL report states on the night of her delivery,
She was advised that she needed to get into the bed and be hooked up to monitoring.
Malatesta explained that she was told her OBGYN was not on call and she explained this was not part of the birth plan she had discussed with her doctor.
As they waited for the doctor to arrive, a long struggle with staff followed to hold onto some aspects of her birthing plan.
Malatesta attempted to labor on her hands and knees, after her water broke, a move she had discussed with her doctor.
Only she was pushed onto her back by nurses that’s when things got worse:
As her baby began to crown, the nurses held her down and pressed her baby’s head into her vagina.
She estimates that the nurses held her baby in for about six minutes.
Malatesta remembers telling the nurses the baby was coming and screamed at them to stop.
Her son was born a minute later when the on-call doctor finally arrived in the ward.
Malatesta was still experiencing pain a few months later since the birth in her vagina.
It was different than anything that had happened after recovering from her previous three children.
The pain was diagnosed as a nerve disorder called pudendal neuralgia.
She approached Brookwood for answers not yet realizing this pain would be permanent.
“I said I really just want to talk to somebody who can answer some questions so I can come to peace about what happened,” she said.
The patient liaison arranged a meeting with her and the hospital’s vice president, but later canceled it and hung up on Malatesta.
Malatesta filed a lawsuit against the hospital in 2014 for medical negligence and reckless fraud when she was told to speak to Brookwood’s lawyers.
A jury awarded her $16 million in compensatory damages on August 5, 2016, for her husband’s loss of consortium, and relative damages for reckless fraud.
Although its a lot of money, Malatesta will need it as she will suffer from debilitating pain for her remaining life.
She says she finds it hard to walk around and play with her kids, can no longer have sex and medication doesn’t completely get rid of the pain before going to sleep.
Malatesta’s case brought out a lot of women to voice their bad experiences in which they were ignored or overruled, and she wants to get their message out there.
She says, “What people forget is that women are seeking choices not just for personal preference, but for the safety of themselves and their babies.”
“They’re seeking evidence-based care,” she adds.