March 14, 2012

Plaintiff Alleges Brain Injury in Newborn Caused by Medical Malpractice

by Levin & Perconti

A family recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against various care providers who, they claim, acted negligently leading to permanent, severe debilitating injuries for the child. A report this weekend in the Morning Sun explains that the lawsuit was filed two years after the birth. The mother in the case noted that she did not have any known complications during her pregnancy. Everything seemed t be going according to plan when she went in at 38 weeks to have the pregnancy induced. The induction was known ahead of time, and so there were no emergency circumstances at the outset.

As in many of these cases, a fetal heart monitor was used during the birth to ensure that the child’s heart rate was at safe levels throughout. Having one of these monitors is one thing but properly using them is another. In the complaint filed by the family’s medical malpractice lawyer that initiated this suit, the family claims that the fetal heart monitor was not analyzed properly in this case. As a result, the child ultimately went more than 40 minutes with a dangerously low heart rate. This meant that the child’s blood was not flowing properly through his body. Poor blood flow to the brain is one of the main causes of brain damage.

When the medical team finally noticed that the child was in distress, they attempted to remove the child from the womb. A vacuum extraction birth was attempted, but it was unsuccessful. A C-section was then performed. The child was in obvious distress as soon as he left the womb. He was ultimately forced to spend twenty three days in a hospital before his condition was stable enough to warrant his release. Though he survived, it was not without long-term consequences. At age one he was diagnosed with a rare form of cerebral palsy. The full extent of the harm caused by the birth injury will not be known until he develops even more.

If your child was injured during birth in our area it is important to seek out the help of an experienced Illinois birth injury lawyer. Unlike many other personal injury cases, there are unique time limit rules that apply to these cases. In typical injury cases, to hold a negligent party accountable, a plaintiff must file suit within two years of the date of the injury. However, that is not necessarily true in the context of birth injuries.

For one thing, there are times when it is unclear if a child has actually been injured at all in the immediate aftermath of a birth. For example, sometimes cerebral palsy is not diagnosed until a child is a few years old. It would be a mistake of justice for families not to be able to hold medical providers accountable for causing the injury because it was not (and should not) have been discovered sooner. Instead, many birth injury cases can be brought, depending on the circumstances many years after the birth—often up to the time that the child turns eighteen years old. That is not to say that it is advisable to wait to seek out legal help in these situations. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers often explain how tracking down medical records, witnesses, and other evidence in the case is made more difficult the older the claim. Yet, the rules do mean that concerns about the length of time after a birth should not necessarily preclude families from exploring their legal options even years later.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

New Test to Detect Heart Defect Birth Injuries