While the birth of someone’s first child is a time filled with excitement, it is also filled with nervousness and trepidation. No matter how much a family prepares for the birth of their first child, they are in many ways entering a brand new world. Both the delivery and adjustments made to everyday life can be scary. This fear is only compounded when one experiences a complication during delivery that leads to birth injuries. In North Carolina, when a birth injury is believed to be a result of medical malpractice, a civil suit against the doctor or medical facility may be appropriate.
One woman has recently filed such a case on her and her daughter’s behalf. She believes that her doctor’s negligence lead to both her injury and that of her daughter. According to court records, an ultrasound showed that the woman’s child was much larger than the average baby — around 10 pounds. Although the woman reportedly expressed her concerns about a natural delivery at this time, the doctor reportedly brushed them away.
The woman’s labor began four days later. Unfortunately, her labor stalled for approximately eight hours. A witness during the trial reportedly testified that this should have been a signal to the doctor to perform a Caesarian section. However, the doctor continued with a natural delivery. The baby ultimately became stuck, requiring the use of the forceps and resulting in a lack of oxygen to the baby for over three minutes.
The baby spent around two months in the hospital, which included the need for resuscitation and a procedure to cool her brain to minimize the effects of the lack of oxygen. The baby has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy along with other disorders. Additionally, the mother claims she personally has ongoing health problems that prevent her from working.
Although the doctor argued that an appropriate standard of care was provided, the jury ultimately awarded the woman and her child with approximately $4 million as a result of the birth injuries. It is unclear at this time if the doctor will appeal the jury’s decision. Any person in North Carolina who feels they were also a victim of medical malpractice has the option of filing a civil case. An award in their favor could help them with future medical expenses as well as other damages.
Source: The Morning Call, Lehigh County jury awards $4 million in birth injury suit, Peter Hall, Sept. 11, 2013