The parents of a child born with severe brain damage at a military hospital in Fort Hood, Texas recently settled their medical malpractice lawsuit against the United States government for $6.5 million. The medical malpractice lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin, alleged physicians ignored evidence that the mother’s contractions were over-stimulated by the excessive use of oxytocin, which caused severe distress in the baby and forced the mother to deliver by emergency Cesarean-section. A copy of the article regarding the medical malpractice case can be found here.
According to allegations made in the medical malpractice suit, the mother’s pregnancy had been normal until near the end of her term. At about 37 weeks, the baby’s growth slowed down, and the obstetricians opted to induce labor on September 11. While in labor, hospital staff frequently turned off the oxytocin after fetal monitoring showed decelerations in the baby’s heart rate. However, hospital doctors continued to resume the oxytocin doses, even after monitoring showed the baby was in distress. After being forced through a long labor, the baby suffered hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation to the brain, during the delivery process. As a result, the newborn suffered severe brain damage, which caused cerebral palsy and other lasting physical injuries.
The baby, now five years old, cannot walk or talk and requires extensive care to survive, including being fed through a feeding tube. According to the medical malpractice attorneys handling the case, when fetal monitoring shows signs of distress in the baby, medical standards of care dictate halting oxytocin and delivering the baby by C-section. In this heartbreaking case, however, the mother argued that the hospital staff negligently ignored these warnings signs and their lack of intervention directly contributed to the newborn’s birth injury. The large settlement will assist with the baby’s care, but it certainly will not give him the healthy life he and his parents deserve.
Parents often are scared, overwhelmed and vulnerable when they enter the labor and delivery departments of hospitals. As a result, they place a great deal of trust and confidence with the medical professionals responsible for the proper and safe delivery and care of both the mother and arriving newborn. In many cases, everything goes well during the labor and delivery process, and both mom and baby are happy and healthy. For some, however, a physician’s missed warning sign can lead to tragedy. This case demonstrates just one example of events that can happen in any labor and delivery room in any hospital.
Birth trauma is a very serious and lifelong injury. The cost of caring for a child injured in a birth trauma incident is significant and often places a substantial burden on parents, caregivers and families. Not only is the emotional hardship of raising a child and learning how best to provide for them taxing, many families also struggle with treatment costs and special care required for children injured as a result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice suits involving birth trauma or injury require careful investigation into the medical mistakes tied to patient injury, and our medical malpractice attorneys have decades of experience with these cases. Our medical malpractice firm is committed to holding negligent physicians and hospitals responsible for their mistakes so that other families do not endure the same hardships.