In the 1990s, a family’s lives were devastated when their son suffered a stroke at birth. The incident left the child permanently disabled with repeated seizures that were difficult to control. He ultimately underwent surgery, which reduced the number of seizures but did not resolve the condition entirely. The child’s mother was shocked and disheartened when the neurologist who had been treating her son then testified against his interests on behalf of the Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) as a paid witness. Oregon families whose children have suffered birth injuries may want to review this case.
NICA had agreed to provide for the child’s medical needs throughout his life
When a child is accepted into the NICA program regarding birth injuries caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain or spinal damage, the parents must agree not to pursue litigation against the obstetrician. In exchange, NICA promises to provide reasonable health care and necessary medical treatments for the patient who has been accepted as a member of the program. In this particular case, the mother of the now-teenage boy had requested that NICA provide at-home nursing care for her son after doctors informed her that he needed 24/7 supervision.
The mother has since claimed that it was a blatant conflict of interest for the neurologist who had treated her son to offer paid testimony on behalf of NICA, stating that his current condition does not require at-home, ’round the clock care. It has been duly noted that this particular neurologist has generated more than $1 million in income providing paid testimony for NICA. The boy’s mother said that it troubles her that the doctor never made her aware of this fact when he initially agreed to examine and treat her son.
Parents may explore options when birth injuries occur
The mother in this case chose for her son to become a member of NICA. Many parents do not want their children to be part of the program based on the fact that membership prohibits civil litigation against the obstetricians who may have been responsible for their children’s birth injuries. When medical negligence causes an infant injury at birth, a parent may seek compensation for damages by filing a medical malpractice claim against the person or people who provided substandard care.