Medical Malpractice during Birth can Cause Life-long Cerebral Palsy in Kentucky Infants
Injuries caused by medical professionals are always tragic because they most likely could have been avoided. When a medical error injures a child, the tragedy increases. Unfortunately, a number of these injuries occur at birth, leaving the infant and the family to deal with medical issues throughout the child’s life.
In a recent case, a jury realized the seriousness of this type of situation and awarded a child’s family $78 million in a medical malpractice case stemming from problems that started at birth. Three years ago, a woman went to the hospital because of complications with her pregnancy. The obstetrician on duty did an ultrasound and concluded that the baby had died. Almost an hour and a half later, an emergency cesarean section delivery was performed and the baby was alive. Unfortunately, the delay in the birth left the newborn with brain damage. The three-year-old has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
After hearing the facts of the case from both sides, the jury decided that the hospital, rather than the attending physicians, was at fault. Testimony brought to light the fact that the ultrasound equipment provided to the doctor by the hospital was old and had not been maintained in the last ten years. Also, there was no ultrasound technician available to say the results had been misread because it was a Sunday. Rather, the technician had to be contacted at home and told to come in. It was most likely these two issues that caused the jury to place the blame on the hospital.
The $78 million medical malpractice award seems very large, but it covers a wide range of issues. The child will require a lifetime of special medical care and will most likely never be able to work to support himself. The award also takes into account the pain and suffering the child has endured and will continue to endure. Of the entire amount, $1.5 million was awarded to the child’s mother for her emotional distress. The rest of the award will be used only to pay for the child’s ongoing medical expenses and care.
Known in the medical field as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, this condition is caused by the brain being denied oxygen and/or blood, which are vital to its function. Depriving the brain of oxygen or blood can cause permanent damage and often causes cerebral palsy or other developmental delays when it occurs during childbirth. Proper monitoring during a woman’s pregnancy and labor can help doctors determine if the baby is in distress and allow them to take action to protect the infant’s health.
Steve Frederick, a Kentucky personal injury attorney, has experience in helping clients with this emotional situation. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy or another mental impairment that you believe may have been caused at birth, contact Mr. Frederick with any questions you may have. His extensive knowledge and compassion will help you with the difficult task of determining if legal action needs to be taken.
Pottstown hospital ordered to pay $78.5 million; Philadelphia Business Journal; Blumenthal and George; May 4, 2012