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Federal Government Pays $11 million in Birth Injury Settlement

An $11 million settlement was recently reached in a case involving the permanent childbirth disability of young Kayla Mae McCraw, reports the Star Advertiser. Kayla was injured during childbirth in November of 2005 when miscommunications and botched operations at the Tripler Army Medical Center caused severe, lifelong physical damage.

During the birth, Kayla’s mother, Celia was under the care of an inexperienced resident doctor, who was supervised by a newly hired Tripler doctor. Throughout the day of the birth, the monitors indicated severe signs of fetal distress that became increasingly worse as the day wore on. Amazingly, both the resident doctor and the supervising doctor agreed that the child would be in “severe jeopardy” if not delivered immediately. However, because of communication problems, nothing was done for over an hour after that determination was made.

By the time that the child was actually delivered, the monitors indicated that the infant was almost dead. After birth, the doctors discovered that the mother’s umbilical cord was wrapped around the Kayla’s neck-essentially suffocating her during the last stages of labor.

But that wasn’t all.

Following the birth, a resuscitation team was called to assist the ailing newborn. One member of the team, another resident-doctor, incorrectly inserted an endotracheal tube into the stomach instead of the lungs. That mistake was not corrected for over 40 minutes. As a result, Kayla was deprived necessary oxygen for an even longer period of time.

Kayla was luckily strong enough to survive this series of blunders, but not before falling victim to severe brain damage. She now suffers from cerebral palsy and is a spastic quadriplegic. She will be forced to be fed from a tube for her entire life.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti continue to be shocked by the basic mistakes that strike the most innocent among us during childbirth. All doctors need to be aware that every necessary step should be taken during difficult childbirths to ensure that the child has the best chance possible of being born healthy. The consequences for these birthing mistakes are so severe, that there is no excuse for failure to act in the standard manner at all times.