Injuries caused by the negligence of hospital staff during the delivery process may sometimes be so severe that they foreclose any possibility of a child having a normal life. For that reason, many Oregon readers regard birth injuries as among the most tragic of medical malpractice cases.
Those sentiments can result in large jury awards, as evidenced by a recent birth injury lawsuit which found a hospital liable for $17 million in past pain and suffering and $60 million in future pain and suffering. The award also included payment for future medical expenses and lost wages.
In the case, the family claimed that hospital staff had failed to recognize the mother's contractions before she went into labor and further failed to prevent the pre-term delivery of her twins. According to the father, hospital staff simply gave the mother Benadryl and forced her to go home the night of the premature delivery.
Fortunately, one of the twin girls was not injured. The other, however, suffered a brain injury as a result of her premature birth, resulting in cerebral palsy. She weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces at her birth.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by permanent damage to the nervous system and/or brain. As in this story, it can be the result of brain damage incurred during a birth injury. Children affected by the disorder may have impaired muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. The disorder can also lead to other health issues, including vision, hearing, and speech problems, and learning disabilities. There is no cure for CP, but treatment, therapy, special equipment, and, in some cases, surgery can help a child who is living with the condition.
If your child suffered a birth injury because hospital staff failed to provide proper monitoring or care during the delivery process, you may be able to bring a civil claim for negligence against the hospital. An attorney can advise you of your rights.
Source: New York Post, "Family of SI cerebral palsy teen wins $100M lawsuit against birth hospital," Josh Saul, Aug. 25, 2012
• Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Oregon Birth Injuries page.