Any woman who has given birth would likely tell you that no pregnancy is completely safe until the baby is actually born and in stable health. That is to say, all the precautions and care taken over the previous nine months can be undone by mistakes made during labor and birth.
Birth injuries are particularly tragic because they will often shape a person’s entire life from the moment they are born. And the costs related to caring for a child with birth injuries can be astronomical. For these and other reasons, when medical professionals are responsible for causing birth injuries, parents have both the need and the right to pursue full and fair compensation from the at-fault parties.
Earlier this summer, a news report gave readers a rare glimpse into a medical malpractice settlement in the case of a child born with severe brain injuries. Settlement details are normally kept private, but one of the defendants in this case was the federal government. Because lawsuit damages are paid using taxpayer dollars, details must be disclosed publicly.
The baby’s mother was on active duty in the military and stationed at a fort in Georgia. Her prenatal care was apparently handled by the army medical center, with birth and delivery services contracted out to a nearby hospital. Both the government and the private hospital were named as defendants in the lawsuit.
According to news reports, the baby was full-term in early 2016 when the woman went to the hospital in labor. The baby was identified as being in distress, yet it took two hours between the time the doctor examined the woman and the time the baby was delivered. Even changing into scrubs took the doctor 22 minutes.
Protracted labor when a fetus is in distress is very dangerous for both the child and the mother. There is no room for delay in delivering the baby, because delays could mean depriving the baby of oxygen and other serious consequences. Sadly, due to the delay, the child was born with severe brain injuries.
In all, the two defendants settled the lawsuit for a combined $10.2 million. This may seem like a “windfall” amount to some. But as stated above, it costs a lot of money to care for a child with severe disabilities. The bulk of the settlement may need to be spent on past and future medical expenses for the child.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are often a long, hard fight for plaintiffs, but necessary for personal and financial reasons. If you or a loved one has been severely injured or disabled due to medical negligence, please discuss your legal options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney like those at our firm.