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Articles Posted in Birth Injury Trial

In the delivery room, soon-to-be mothers and fathers expect a high level of care and professionalism from their treating physician and hospital staff. Injuries and death can result when that standard is not met, leaving families with a lifetime of mental, emotional and financial challenges. With the assistance of the courts and an experienced attorney, negligent doctors and hospitals may be found liable and held responsible for their actions. That was the outcome of a recent case where a jury ruled that a negligent hospital should compensate a child and his mother.
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An Ohio jury recently awarded $14.5 million dollars to an 11-year-old boy for injuries he suffered at birth. According to the website,, the jury returned a verdict against a physician and health center, finding them both liable for medical malpractice. The young boy reportedly has cerebral palsy, along with visual impairments and severe cognitive disabilities. His lawsuit made the claim that he will require medical assistance for the remainder of his life.

According to the article, the mother was 36-years-old at the time of her son’s birth. She had a history of difficult pregnancy and her first baby was delivered by emergency cesarean section at 32 weeks. While pregnant with her 11-year-old, the woman reportedly went into labor three times, with each incident resulting in a hospital stay to stop labor with medication. Her last stay ended on April 4, 2003. On April 10, 2003, she was reportedly readmitted at 12:30 pm, when her water broke. According to the report, the mother asked for an immediate delivery, but was denied. She reportedly asked again for a delivery around 5:30 pm when the attending obstetrician arrived, but her request was again denied. Her son was reportedly delivered around 9:00 pm after exhibiting signs of distress. Examination showed that the baby suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, which reportedly occurred around 5:30 pm, while the mother was waiting for delivery.
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According to a report by Medstak, a couple recently filed a lawsuit alleging medical negligence that resulted in the death of their unborn child. The complaint names the hosptial and two medical centers as the responsible parties. It also lists several specific employees from each organization. The plaintiff was reportedly 30-years-old when she was admitted into the hospital for a scheduled inducing of labor. She states that she had medical complications with previous labor,s including gestational diabetes. According to the complaint, the parties assert that this history should have alerted doctors to possible problems with the labor and delivery process. The mother additionally claims that, once inducement was started, the fetus showed numerous signs of distress. However, from her perspective, hospital staff did nothing to address the signs.

The plaintiff’s baby was stillborn, with no heartbeat upon delivery. An autopsy reportedly concluded that asphyxia was the cause of death. Asphyxia occurs when there is not enough oxygen to the brain. According to the article, it is treatable if detected early. There are various levels of asphyxia. Mild asphyxia can be treated with minimal effects. Severe asphyxia can result in brain damage or organ failure. The most extreme cases result in death. The plaintiffs assert that the baby could have been saved if the hospital staff had completed the delivery by cesarean section earlier in the labor process.

The Causes and Risk Factors of Stillbirth

The state of Maryland is considering a measure that would protect hospitals and doctors within the state from birth injury lawsuits. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the state no-fault injury fund would compensate parents for birth injuries, in lieu of personal injury lawsuits.

During the past two years, Maryland birth injury juries returned several verdicts for awards in excess of $15 million in malpractice lawsuits. In addition, one jury awarded more than $50 million to a birth injury plaintiff against a Maryland hospital. Despite these large verdicts, medical malpractice claims are capped at $740,000 in the state of Maryland. However, officials assert that the frequency of these lawsuits is putting an undue strain on hospital resources. The Frederick News-Post reports that some hospital officials claim they are considering the closure of their maternity units, in response.

Supporters of the fund assert that it would decrease the financial risk for hospitals, while creating an ongoing source of financial compensation for parents. According to reports, they argue that it will also maintain vital medical services for the women of Maryland. Projected funding for the program is $23.1 million, which would be funded by premiums from state hospitals and OBGYN physicians. Parents who agree to utilize the fund would have 21 years to file a claim and would be prohibited from seeking any relief in the courts against the responsible hospital or the physician, regardless of the specific case facts.

The term medical malpractice may invoke imagines of doctors failing to perform their duties consistent with a reasonable standard of care. However, some may not think about the wider group of personnel involved in medical care, particularly in a hospital setting. Not only are doctors subject to malpractice claims, but nurses are as well, since nurses are also expected to perform with a certain standard of care with patients.

In January 2014, a jury awarded $32 million to a girl born with brain damage as a result of the negligence of two of the nurses at the hospital during the birth. It is reportedly one of the highest jury award in state history. The trial lasted about two weeks, and the jury included eight men and four women. The hospital does have the option to appeal the decision, although nothing in that regard has yet been done.

Birth Injury Case

Medical malpractice lawsuits refer to allegations of medical negligence. These lawsuits cover a broad range of areas from medical injuries to wrongful deaths. Though media coverage may paint a picture of an over litigious society, people who suffer because of medical negligence deserve to be compensated for their injuries. Medical negligence can lead to serious injury or death and cause a lifetime of unforeseen medical costs.

Patient’s Death During Childbirth

Many medical malpractice lawsuits result from childbirth or pregnancy. There are thousands of childbirths performed each day and the consequences can be severe when medical personnel are careless. When a mother or child is hurt, liability may accrue. Most of these cases take the form of medical malpractice claims, and, when a patient dies as a result of the situation, then a wrongful death claim may also be filed.

Those familiar with traumatic births and the potential consequences appreciate that one of the most important choices that a medical team must make is deciding whether to allow a vaginal birth to continue or to order an emergency Cesarean section.

Sometimes C-section births are scheduled early on in a pregnancy–particularly if the mother is at heightened risk for complications or previously gave birth via C-section. Barring that, most mothers plan to give birth vaginally. However, if complications develop during the birth itself, then it is often critical to perform an emergency C-section to prevent serious harm from affecting the child or mother.

When medical teams do not follow standard procedures in failing to order the C-section in a timely manner and a birth injury results, then it may be appropriate to seek legal recourse to recover for damages.

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.

Over the past few weeks we have pointed out how the cost of childbirth in the United States is far higher than anywhere else in the world. Not only that, but the costs within the US have been rising dramatically and steadily.

What is causing the rise? It would take several doctoral theses to make a full argument about medical costs, as they remain an incredibly complex issue. So many factors play a role and there is so little transparency that even those incredibly familiar with how it all works have varying ideas about how to reign in the problem.

Even though there is disagreement about what we can do to lower costs, we know much more about things that will not affect the costs.

Recently, RTE, Ireland’s national television and radio broadcasting agency, published a harrowing story involving a mother whose fight for justice for her brain damaged daughter finally came to fruition. The High Court of Ireland ruled that the daughter should be awarded 1.3 million euros, as she sued the Health Service Executive through her mother. The Health Service Executive is responsible for the oversight of all provided health care and social services to the people of Ireland.

Her fight began the day of her birth over four years ago. The daughter’s mother claimed that hospital staff used large amounts of a specific drug intended to artificially induce labor. She also claimed the methods used to deliver her baby were subpar, and that her aftercare while at the hospital was entirely inadequate. Her daughter now suffers from cerebral palsy, and is severely brain damaged, allegedly due to the events at the hospital during her birth.

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