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$900,000 Medical Malpractice Award Upheld Following Brain Damage After Birth

We have recently posted a series of stories on a mother who died after a C-section for twins. The birth injury was caused by excessive bleeding following the surgery that could not be stopped by medical professionals in a timely fashion. The tragedy was a reminder of both the risks of all surgical births and the fact that mothers are often just as susceptible as their children of suffering harm when childbirths go awry.

Hampton Roads News posted a story this weekend that acts as yet another reminder of the risks to mothers in these situations. The story shared information about a verdict in a birth injury lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who suffered severe brain damage after having a C-section. The accident occurred in early 2005 when the woman was admitted to the hospital. As in the case of the woman who died after her twins were born, high blood pressure was also an issue in this case. The woman here actually had a history of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Because of that prior history of problems, the nurses charged with her care were ordered to provide close monitoring of the blood pressure, particularly after the delivery.

Unfortunately the woman experienced a wide range of problems after the surgery. Her blood pressure and heart rate become erratic. Her partner was by her bedside at the time, and he immediately called for help when he noticed that she was having problems. He explained that nurses were very slow in responding. When they finally did respond the nurse failed to notice that she had erratic monitor readings. No emergency steps were taken, and the nurse left.

Less than two hours later an alarm sounded on the victim’s monitor. Her blood pressure had plummeted to critical levels, causing her to fall into shock. Less than an hour after that alarm the woman was rushed into surgery. By that time she had lost roughly half of her blood. The blood loss led to a severe and permanent brain injury. During the childbirth injury lawsuit that followed the family argued that hospital records clearly identified that the woman’s nurses did not check her surgical incisions for over six hours. That is how she was able to lose so much blood without notice. By the time she was lifted out of the bed to head to the emergency surgery her sheets were soaked in blood. The trial actually occurred in 2009, where a U.S. District Court judge awarded the woman $900,000. However, the verdict was appealed and it wasn’t until very recently that the original verdict was upheld.

It seems that the doctor involved in this botched delivery had done the same thing in the past. The doctor had a previous series of malpractice claims filed against him over a six year period. The state’s Board of Medicine explained that the man eventually had to surrender his license for his previous errors. The case is yet another reminder that at times, instances of malpractice seems to bunch up with certain doctors making the same errors again and again.

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