The News-Gazette reported recently on the end of a Chicago birth injury case which had been filed by the guardians of a girl who, it was claimed, developed cerebral palsy as a result of problematic care during her birth. According to court filings, the young girl was born in 2002 at the Christ Medical Center. She underwent a traumatic birth, and ultimately was born with significant injuries.
In this Illinois birth injury lawsuit-just like many others-the young girl developed signs of fetal distress during the birthing process. Caregivers monitor certain aspects of the fetus’s health during the birth so that they can be aware if anything is wrong-such as lack of oxygen to the brain or a stopped heartbeat. Then, the medical professionals are able to respond quickly with emergency measures if necessary to prevent the problem from continuing and causing long-term injuries to the child. Those emergency procedures may include use of special equipment or calling for a C-section birth.
This suit claimed that caregivers did not act fast enough when they were made aware of signs of fetal distress. In many more cases than not a caregiver will do whatever is necessary to quickly and properly do everything to account for the fetal distress. However, there are certain cases where medical providers fail to act properly. In those cases, the consequence to the child with prolonged oxygen deprivation or lack of blood flow to the brain can be severe. That is what seemingly happened in this case.
The girl here was deprived of oxygen for a considerable length of time. That oxygen deprivation had long-term consequences for the girl who otherwise would have been born without major health problems. Doctors soon discovered that the oxygen deprivation led to severe and permanent brain damage. By the time she was a year old she was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy. These birth injuries can be particularly severe, and the victim in this case will require close, around-the-clock care for the rest of her life. Her family reports that they are working hard on her mental development, but they understand that she will face unique challenges throughout her life. Her physical limitations are similarly severe.
A few years after the girl’s birth, her grandparents became official guardians of the child. They then sought legal advice and proceeded with this birth injury lawsuit. After the case proceeded and evidence was collected, the hospital involved decided that working out a settlement was likely in the best interests of both parties. Recently a $7.5 million agreement was reached, and it is now waiting on judicial approval. The doctors involved in the situation that were also named in the suit were not part of that settlement.
The award will hopefully allow the family to have the peace of mind of knowing that their loved one will have access to the resources necessary now and in the future. Many parents, and in this case grandparents, are understandably worried about what will happen to their child’s care once they are no longer around. When wrongdoers are required to pay for the consequences of these actions, those families are comforted with the knowledge that the children in question will be taken care of for their entire lives, even considering the substantial aid that they will need for decades to come.
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