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New Verdict: $4 Million for Negligence Leading to Cerebral Palsy

The Morning Call reported earlier this month on the end of a trial in a birth injury case. The matter went all the way to the jury which eventually returned a verdict for the plaintiff. As a result, a mother and her daughter–born with cerebral palsy–was awarded $4 million. The facts of the case are somewhat similar to many that our attorneys have seen over the years, with negligence of the same type affecting families in Chicago and Illinois.

The Case
Per the details outlined in the story, the birth in question occurred over four years ago. The mother went into labor in August of 2009, but during the middle the labor stalled. The baby was quite large, a fact that was the doctor and other members of the medical team. In fact, an ultrasound taken just days before the birth revealed that the child weighed 10 pounds–that is an incredible amount for a birth.

Because of that ultrasound, the mother voiced concern about delivering the baby vaginally. Was it prudent? The medical team told her that there was nothing to worry about.

Eventually, in the middle of the delivery, the birth essentially stopped progressing. This stall lasted at least eight hours. Yet, instead of taking that situation as a sign that the delivery was in trouble and alternative steps needed to be taken, nothing was done. More specifically, the plaintiff’s attorney in the case argued that after these developments, the doctors should have understood that a Caesarean Section was necessary.

Instead a vaginal delivery went forward. Complications continued and forceps were eventually used by the doctor. At that point, things only got worse. The child’s shoulder became caught on the mother’s pelvic bone. This caused the baby to begin losing access to oxygen. The deprivation lasted at least three and half minutes.

Following the birth, the baby went through a “brain cooling” procedure in an attempt to quell possible brain injury. All told the baby spent two months in the hospital and required extensive rehabilitation. Now four years old, the girl suffers from mild cerebral palsy and is dealing with neurological problems.

The doctor in the case dispute that he acted negligently in handling the birth. However, after a case in which a jury heard all the evidence and arguments from both sides, they agreed with the plaintiffs. The mother and daughter were awarded $4 million. However, it remains unclear what the family will actually collect. The doctor’s malpractice insurance covered only $1 million, which may functionally limit the recovery.

Birth Injury Cases in Illinois
As mentioned, this sad case offers some characteristics that are quite common in many different birth injury cases. That includes the development of cerebral palsy, a failure to identify complication, failure to perform a C-section, and more. If you or a loved one many have a child suffer an injury during birth with these characteristics present, then it may be worth visiting a professional to learn more about your legal rights.

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The Connection Between Infant’s Heart & Brain