Over the years, I have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice birth injury cases. The birth of a child should be an exciting and happy occasion for all parents. Especially for new parents, labor and delivery can be scary and intimidating, and that is why parents trust their doctors and nurses to perform to the best of their abilities and provide excellent medical care. This means putting their own lives and their child’s life in the hands of medical staff and trusting that everyone will be happy and healthy. Sadly, the doctors and nurses who are responsible for delivering babies sometimes can endanger the health and safety of both baby and mom through mistakes and inattention. These injuries happen far too often and can result in irreparable harm to the baby prior to and during delivery. Birth injuries can have significant consequences on a child’s health and future, and on a family who must cope with the financial hardships of raising a child with a severe disability or condition.
Recently, according to a Chester County, Pennsylvania jury, two nurses were found to be negligent in a medical malpractice lawsuit lodged by a mother on behalf of her infant daughter. The jury concluded that the little girl suffered brain damage at birth because nurses at a Pennsylvania hospital failed to alert doctors about changes in the baby’s condition prior to delivery. A copy of the article regarding the medical malpractice suite can be found here.
After being admitted in early labor at a Pennsylvania hospital, the mother was placed on a fetal heart monitor designed to monitor the baby’s heart rate for any dangerous changes throughout the labor and delivery. The lawsuit alleged that about two hours after the mother was admitted, two attending nurses noticed that the baby’s heart rate had dropped significantly, from about 150 beats per minute, to about 60 beats per minute. Although this condition persisted, the nurses failed to alert the mother’s physician in a timely manner, and nearly fifteen minutes passed before the physician saw that the child’s heart rate had dropped significantly. Due to an additional delay in preparing anesthesia for an emergency Cesarean section, the baby was not delivered until about thirty minutes later. According to the family’s attorney and medical experts who testified, it was likely that the heart rate dropped because oxygen flow to the baby’s brain had been blocked by a kink in her umbilical cord.
Today, the girl, now four years old, suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She experiences spasms in her legs and arms, has difficulty controlling her neck, has significant speech impairments, and has trouble walking.
After a two-week trial, jurors found the two nurses were negligent when they did not call for help quickly enough after noticing that the baby’s heart rate had dropped, and awarded $32.8 million to the girl and her family. This large verdict includes $31 million for future medical expenses, $1 million for past and future non-economic damages, and $800,000 for future lost earning capacity. Thankfully, this award will compensate the family and allow them to provide the specialized services and treatments the little girl will require for the rest of her life.
This type of case is a sad reminder that life-changing medical mistakes can happen. Birth injuries especially can have significant, long-term consequences on a child’s health, and our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you pursue the compensation you deserve from those responsible.