Injury lawyer News reported this week on a new lawsuit filed in Cook County by local parents on behalf of a young girl who, the suit claims, was harmed as a result of medical negligence during her delivery. The suit was filed in mid-September on behalf of the young girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a local hospital.
According to the report, the suit includes negligence claims as well as claims under the Family Expense Act. Understanding various “claims” under a single incident is sometimes the most confusing part of the legal process for local families. On one hand it seems logical for one event (a birth) to give rise to one claim. But, the law is a bit more complex. The is because claims are not necessarily tied to a single set of events. Instead, the ability to sue another is based on different sources. The “common law” provides one tool to seek accountability–that is the basic negligence (or malpractice) claim. In addition there may be statutory claims based on violations of laws passed by a state or federal legislative body–that is the Family Expense Act claim.
The main difference is that one claim is rooted in an actual law passed by elected officials, while the other is rooted in laws developed by the courts over the centuries. In many cases the exact elements that have to be proven to succeed on each claim are somewhat different.
In any event, one of the main skills that an experienced attorney provides is the ability to understand these various claims, the information needed to prevail on each, and the analysis to explain the likelihood of success on any given claim.
The Birth Injury Case
According to the repost on this most recent case, the mother arrived at the defendant-hospital in late November of 2003 to deliver her child. Unfortunately, things did not go well. The mother soon showed signs of distress during the birth, including suspicious fetal heart tracings. The complaint filed in the case suggests that the medical team working on the delivery knew that the child was showing signs of fetal distress with problematic heart rates. Problems with the heart rate are often an indication of oxygen problems to the brain. Lack of oxygen to the brain is how serious, permanent brain injuries develop.
According to the suit, despite the clear warning signs, staff members continued to give the mother doses of a drug called Pitocin throughout the delivery. This is a liquid medication that is commonly used to induce labor. This meant that the delivery continued without emergency action even though the child was suffering distress and needed help.
The complaint alleges that the medical team at the hospital should have performed a C-section in a timely fashion, which would have allowed the baby to receive the help she needed immediately. In addition, the court documents suggest that the staff members acted improperly in the dosages of Pitocin that they provided. If proper steps has been taken, the child may not have been born with the serious brain injury.
This particular case hits on many issues commonly found in birth injury lawsuits. Proper monitoring of warning signs of problems is critical. If medical caregivers have information (or should have that information), then it is key that they act on it. That may mean altering medication schedules, ordering a C-section or other techniques.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have been affected by mistakes made during childbirth, please get in touch with the lawyers at our firm to see how we can help.
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