Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm is proud to work on birth injury cases, because they often represent the situations where victims are most in need of legal redress. When a mistake is made during the birthing process that could have been prevented, families are often forced to forever alter their lives as they work to help their disabled youngster meet the challenges of growing up with a defect or disability. Their task is made significantly more difficult if they do not have the resources to ensure that their loved one can receive the close medical and caregiving support to meet their basic needs. For children suffering particularly debilitating injuries, the costs of access to that basic level of care and equipment can be incredibly high. It is for that reason that some birth injury lawsuit end with significant verdicts or settlements.

For example, the Contra Costa Times reported last week on a proposed settlement in a birth injury case. The suit in question was filed two and a half years ago by a woman and her family after the woman experienced a traumatic childbirth. Shortly after he was born, the woman’s son was diagnosed with neurological injuries that were caused by fetal distress. The suit claimed that deficient care at the facility was responsible for the injury, and that the child would have been born completely healthy were it not for that negligence. Specifically, the court documents alleged that the 18-year old mother showed clear signs of fetal distress while in labor. Yet, ignoring those signs, the doctors involved failed to take action. An emergency C-section was likely necessary but it never occurred. The legal action therefore sought redress for the costs of the lifetime of care that the young child would need as a result of the error.

As the legal process proceeded the legal representatives for the public hospital involved in the suit and the mother’s attorney met to discuss a possible settlement. Many cases such as this ultimately do settle, often because the negligent parties become aware of their negligence and wish to avoid the time and expense that a trial often brings. For example, in this case, the attorney for the mother worked with the opposing counsel to reach a proposed agreement whereby the hospital would provide $2.8 million to settle the medical malpractice lawsuit.

Our birth injury attorneys were interested in a current lawsuit in which a former inmate is suing the county jail she was incarcerated in, after she gave birth on the floor of the jail close to fourteen years ago. The birth injury lawsuit is against the county where the jail in which the inmate was incarcerated is located. While the incident occurred many years ago, the case is just now going to trial. According to Seattle PI, the personal injury lawsuit alleges that the baby likely suffered neurological damage as a result of not receiving medical care immediately following the baby’s birth. The inmate was pregnant and claims that the jail staff ignored her when she told them that she was nine months pregnant and that she was having labor pains. After repetitively asking for help and no one responding to her pleas or taking her seriously, she gave birth to her baby in her jail cell all alone. The officers that were on duty claimed that when they saw her they did not believe that she was in imminent danger, and that is why they did not get her help when she was asking for it.

The jail staff claims that the inmate was not clear in informing them that she was pregnant, and that due to her erratic behavior and verbal abuse, they had no reason to believe her claims that she was pregnant. They also claim that they did not act negligently by not believing that she was pregnant and failing to get her help before the baby was born because they did not know she was pregnant and are not required to give pregnancy tests to their inmates. It was not until the staff heard the baby crying that they realized she was serious about the pregnancy and proceeded to go and get help for the mother and baby. The jail staff also claims that the mother and baby suffered no injuries as result of the lack of care on the part of the jail.

However, the inmate claims that her baby was born with a heart defect and that the fact that the baby had no immediate care led to a more severe birth injury. The lawsuit is against the jail staff and the county for their negligence in not giving the inmate the appropriate care necessary and the baby’s injuries are not actually part of this particular lawsuit. The inmate seeks damages for the pain and suffering from being alone in her isolation cell and having to go through the birthing process all by herself.

Mothers often turn to midwives when they are seeking a more natural childbirth option. However, the American Pregnancy Association cautions that sometimes childbirth requires medical interventions that extend beyond the scope of a midwife’s limited services. In those situations, the mother and baby need the prompt attention and care of an experienced obstetrician. If complications arise during childbirth that a midwife is incapable of handling, both mother and baby run the risk of suffering a debilitating birth injury.

Recently, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported that a Maine jury awarded a 10-year-old plaintiff $3 million for past and future medical expenses, permanent impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life after finding that the midwife who had overseen the child’s delivery negligently failed to follow standard medical care procedures. The child is severely disabled and was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Kabuki Syndrome. The medical malpractice lawsuit maintained that the disorder did not account for all of the child’s symptoms, which include severe mental retardation, blindness, wheelchair confinement, a feeding tube, and inability to speak. Rather, the symptoms indicate the child suffered from oxygen deprivation during labor, as a fetal monitor warned. The lawsuit argued that the midwife failed to respond appropriately when the monitor indicated a problem.

The jury came to a verdict for the plaintiff after deliberating for only four hours. The plaintiff’s attorney praised the verdict, but added, “There are no winners in this. Everyone in the courtroom, particularly defense counsel, agreed this is a tragic situation.” Chicago birth injury attorneys know that with the proper care and attention during childbirth, these tragedies are entirely preventable. A fetal monitor should provide sufficient warning if problems occur. However, too often the baby is deprived of oxygen and experiences birth hypoxia or birth asphyxia, which can result in permanent brain damage. Such injuries require lifelong medical care and can exert an astounding financial and emotional strain on families.
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Without prompt and adequate treatment, pregnancy complications often threaten the life of a mother carrying the child as well as child itself. Illinois birth injury lawyers realize that to protect lives, doctors must properly examine and diagnose pregnant mothers who exhibit signs of infection and provide treatment to prevent the condition from worsening.

An article published recently in the Dallas Morning News shows how a treatable infection can quickly degenerate into deadly septic shock if healthcare providers fail to administer appropriate care. A woman was admitted into the hospital with an 104.8 degree fever and complaining of neck and lower back pain – characteristic signs of an infection. A sonogram showed that the woman had been 17 weeks pregnant, but the baby had died. Rather than removing the fetus immediately to address the infection and without examining the woman, doctors ordered the procedure to be performed the next morning, 16 hours later.

During the intervening hours, the woman’s condition devolved into sepsis, a severe blood infection caused by an infection in another part of the body that can result in blood clotting, multiple organ failure, and death. The woman experienced septic shock and fell into a coma that lasted for three months.

Now the woman must receive dialysis three times a week, is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, and has suffered two strokes, brain surgery, blood clots, liver damage, a partial hysterectomy, and heart surgery. The family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking redress for this pain and suffering and to cope with over $3 million in medical bills accrued so far. The hospital could have avoided all of these afflictions had the staff met the standard of care and recognized the severity of the woman’s condition on that first night.

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have represented families who suffer when their attending physicians fail to properly diagnose and treat pregnancy complications. In June 2009, we settled a case for $5.35 million on behalf of a daughter whose mother died after her physician failed to diagnose and provide timely treatment for her postpartum cardiomyopathy. The mother arrived in the emergency room with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain. She was not boarded in the ICU and was improperly treated in the emergency room for pneumonia, worsening her heart failure. She died 15 hours later.
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Our Chicago birth injury attorneys often receive troubling calls from heartbroken parents describing incidents of shoulder dystocia. According to a recent article from MissionLocal.org, shoulder dystocia is a birth complication often associated with, but not limited to pregnant women with diabetes. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a child’s head is delivered, but the shoulders of the child are unable to pass through the birth canal. When this occurs, the child is immediately in jeopardy of suffering serious birth injuries or even death. According to the report, sometimes doctors are able to avoid injury by quickly repositioning the child, but others aren’t so lucky.

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most dangerous birth complications. Once the head of a baby is delivered, significant strain is placed on the umbilical cord. In a typical childbirth setting this is not a problem because of the relatively short period of time between delivery of a baby’s head and shoulders. In shoulder dystocia cases, however, the prolonged stress often leads to permanent injuries.

John Perconti filed a lawsuit against Evanston Hospital in 2005 for complications suffered by Denise Juarez when the birth complication of shoulder dystocia caused her to ultimately suffer from Erb’s palsy, which is the weakness or loss of movement caused by damage to the nerve bundles at one’s shoulders.

A jury recently awarded $2.5 million to a grieving couple who lost their baby in a birth injury caused by doctors’ negligence.

The couple sued various obstetricians and gynecologists as well the practice where the expecting mother was treated. While obstetricians specialize in the management of pregnancy and labor, gynecologists specialize in the female reproductive system. Together, “ob/gyns” are trained to diagnosis and treat disorders and diseases in this field.

According to court documents, doctors discovered a complication during the mother’s pregnancy. Lab results revealed that the unborn baby had O-positive blood whereas the mother had Rh-negative blood. When this combination of blood types occurs, the baby’s O-positive blood is treated by the mother’s body as an intruder and the mother’s Rh-negative blood produces antibodies to fight the invading O-positive blood. The mother’s antibodies start to break down the fetus’s red blood cells. This condition is called hemolytic disease or hemolytic anemia. It can become severe enough to cause serious illness, brain damage, or even death in the fetus or newborn.

According to the lawsuit, doctors failed to properly monitor and treat the mother and her baby after the complication was revealed. The unborn baby developed immune hydrops fetalis, a complication of Rh incompatibility. Although a cesarean section delivery was preformed, the baby did not survive. In addition, the mother will unlikely be able to deliver another viable fetus, according to the complaint.

The jury not only awarded the parents $2 million in compensatory damages but the jury also determined that the doctors should pay $500,000 in punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct. They are usually awarded when the jury determines that the defendants acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others. Although punitive damages are not intended to compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff usually receives the entire punitive damage award.

To learn more about this lawsuit and other birth injuries that went to trial, follow the links.
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A birth injury lawyer secured an $8.5 million settlement for the family of a severely brain-damaged child. The Jersey Journal reported that even though the trial had already begun, attorneys reached an agreement to settle after five days of trial testimony.

According to the lawsuit, when the mother-to-be first went to the hospital, several prenatal tests were conducted. All of these tests suggested that the unborn baby was normal and healthy. A prenatal heart monitor was then attached to the mother’s abdomen to track the baby’s heart rate. Several hours later, the baby’s heart rate started to drop. In fact, records showed that the unborn baby’s heart rate reached a dangerously low level of 60 beats per minute.

Although the baby’s heart rate was grave and required immediate medical attention, evidence suggested that the labor and delivery room nurse waited almost half an hour before calling the attending obstetrician. As the unborn baby continued to struggle, the obstetrician took over twenty minutes before even starting an emergency Cesarean section.

Evidence at trial showed that the unborn baby’s umbilical chord was compressed. This can cause a baby’s low heart rate and can cause the fetus to be deprived of oxygen. Experts in the case claimed that as a result of the unnecessary delays by the obstetrician and the delivery room nurse, the unborn baby suffered permanent brain damage.

The child, who is now five years old, suffers from seizures, is unable to walk, and needs to be fed through a straw. The child will be in need for full-time care for his entire life. According to the terms of this birth injury settlement, $6 million was provided for the medical expenses the child will incur in the future. The parents received $2.5 million as compensation for their emotional pain and other damages.

To read more about this birth injury settlement, follow the link.

Unfortunately birth injuries are not uncommon. In early March a family received $19.2 million for their child’s birth injury. Click on the link if you wish to learn more about the family’s struggle with their child’s birth injury. Birth injuries often result in brain injury for the unborn child. If you want to learn more about brain injuries, follow the link.

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A father of three newborn triplets sues the hospital where his wife died during labor. WWMT News reported on the medical malpractice lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the doctors were aware that the mother had a placenta condition that caused massive bleeding. The father of the newborns claims that the doctors were negligent because they failed to have enough blood during the cesarean section, causing his wife’s death.

The placenta is a structure that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy. The placenta supplies the unborn baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood. According to the March of Dimes Foundation, there are a variety of placental problems that can cause complications during the second half of pregnancy.

One type of placenta condition is a placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta peels away from the uterine wall before birth. Severe cases can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients. The main symptom of placental abruption is vaginal bleeding. Last year, a mother with placental abruption was awarded $1.4 million in her birth injury case.

The position of the mother’s placenta can also cause complications during pregnancy. A placenta previa is a low-lying placenta that can block the baby’s exit from the uterus. This position can cause the placenta to bleed during labor and birth. In some cases the bleeding can be severe, which can be dangerous to the mother and her baby.
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HealthBeat recently reported on the amount of cesearean sections in the past 35 years. Results show that numbers have tripled. Expectant mothers are likely now, more so than ever, to choose a c-section in advance rather than undergo a vaginal birth. In addition, according to another research study, the number of induced births has also increased. It has been reported that nearly 40% of births are electively induced – meaning that there was no medical necessity requiring the induction.

But while these numbers are growing, so are the complications attributed to each of these procedures. During induction, women are administered the drug Pitocin. Because induced labor is often painful, women are also given an epidural. Epidurals can increase the chances of a vacuum or forceps being used during delivery. Furthermore, because babies born by induced labors can often be born too early, the babies will likely be required to stay in the hospital’s neonatal care unit a lot longer than most infants.

Similarly, as addressed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS): “Cesareans are associated with higher rates of surgical complications and maternal re-hospitalization as well as with complications requiring neonatal intensive care unit admission… In addition hospital charges for a Cesarean delivery are almost double those for a vaginal delivery.” Moreover, c-sections are major surgeries which require the patient to recover afterwards. This recovery can often take several weeks.

But while more and more women are choosing to undergo these pre-planned types of births, other women don’t have a choice. At times, c-sections are vital and if not done properly or efficiently, they can often lead to other birth injuries. It is extremely important for healthcare professionals to be cautious and thorough when dealing with such emergency situations in order to minimize error and avoid birth injury lawsuits. However, as our Chicago birth injury attorneys know, that is not always the case.
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The McKinney Courier-Gazette reported on a pregnant woman who was forced to give birth to her daughter at home after she was turned away from her local hospital. The woman reported to the hospital’s emergency room for treatment. She told the staff in the emergency room that she was suffering from sudden and severe pelvic pain. But the staff discharged her the same day without conducting an examination. When the woman returned home, she went into labor. Her delayed delivery caused her newborn daughter to sustain a traumatic birth injury.

When an unborn baby is delayed during labor, there may be tragic consequences affecting the health of the child. A delayed delivery may cause hypoxia resulting in brain injury due to lack of oxygen. Delayed deliveries may also cause cerebral palsy, Erb’s Palsy (paralysis of the arm), and other learning or developmental disabilities.

Delayed births may be the result of the inattentiveness or the negligence of the attending physician or hospital staff. Victims of birth injuries are sometimes awarded multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements to compensate for the medical costs, pain and suffering, and even the disability the child and their family may face.
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