For a parent, one of the greatest fears is that something bad will happen to their child. Mothers take special care when pregnant to ensure that their child is born healthy and will develop correctly. However, one thing that mothers cannot avoid is the risk of complications during the birthing process.
Last month, a Pennsylvania jury awarded $4 million when it found an obstetrician’s medical negligence caused permanent injuries to a child. The child, now four years old, suffers cerebral palsy and neurological injuries as a result of the obstetrician’s negligent failure to perform a cesarean section after the mother’s labor stalled for nearly eight hours. An expert witness testified that the doctor should have recognized that when the child’s labor stopped progressing, a cesarean delivery was safer. Instead, the doctor proceeded with a vaginal delivery and used forceps to assist in the delivery. During the delivery, the baby’s shoulder became stuck in her mother’s pelvis, causing a crucial three-and-a-half minute delay when the baby was deprived of oxygen. As a result, the baby had to be resuscitated by the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital and later underwent a procedure to cool her brain to minimize damage from the lack of oxygen. The verdict came after a four-day trial and is among the largest medical malpractice awards in the county’s history. A copy of an article regarding the case can be found here.
Maryland obstetricians are required to use reasonable care during the delivery of a child and when they fail to do so are responsible for the injuries their medical malpractice causes. Any parent whose child has suffered from birth injuries may be able to take legal action such as this woman did in the hopes of being compensated for the lifetime of medical bills that their child will incur.