After a healthy pregnancy, the parents of baby Earl Reese-Thornton, Jr. expected to leave North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida after the delivery of a healthy baby boy in December 2013. Instead they are facing the heartbreaking reality that all of their lives have been forever changed by a doctor’s incompetence during delivery. During the 90 minutes before Earl was finally born, Dr. Ata Atogho forced a vaginal delivery by administering pitocin (a labor inducing drug), despite the fact that his mother’s stalled labor was causing the baby distress and called for an emergency C-Section. Instead, Dr. Atogho left Earl’s mother, Marla Dixon, laboring while he delivered another baby and carried on a phone call with his investment advisor. When Earl was finally born, it was clear he had suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen and required resuscitation.
Falsifying Documents and Government Responsibility
Dr. Atogho documented in Ms. Dixon’s chart that he offered her a C-Section and that she refused. Ms. Dixon stated that Dr. Atogho had never mentioned the possibility of a C-Section and that she had even asked for one and was denied, a story which the labor and delivery nurse at Ms. Dixon’s beside corroborated.
Once Ms. Dixon decided to pursue legal action, she discovered that during the same year, Dr. Atogho had delivered two other babies who suffered brain damage and another that was permanently disabled, all from delivery errors at the hands of the physician. The other 3 families have also sued Dr. Atogho. Herein lies another injustice: Dr. Atogho is an employee of Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami. Jessie Trice is a federally-funded facility that serves lower income families, which means the defendant in each of these cases is the federal government, and not Dr. Atogho himself. To date, the physician has not been punished in any way, nor has he had his license pulled or even temporarily suspended.
After hearing evidence and testimony from both sides, a federal judge awarded a $33.8 million dollar judgment. The attorney who represented Ms. Dixon & Earl’s father, Earl Sr., says of the outcome, “While it is impossible to change what has occurred to this family, it is satisfying that baby Earl’s medical and financial needs will be met for the rest of his life.”
Birth Injury Lawsuits
Preparing for a baby is one of the most joyous occasions in life. It is the expectation of mothers that they will be handled with care, with the health and safety of both mother and child placed at the forefront of all decisions made during the delivery process. Birth injuries are a tragedy no parent or child should have to endure.
If your child suffered an injury at birth, the experienced birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have recovered millions of dollars for victims and their families and are here to help you.
While most birth injury lawsuits result from the negligence on the part of the doctor during the actual birthing process, some cases do result from negligence during either the pregnancy or at a point shortly after the birth of the baby. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys are here to listen to your family’s story and to work with you on what next steps might be available to you and your loved ones. To receive a free consultation, please click here.