Hospital fights $18 million award in birth injury suit

Friday January 2, 2015

For most of human history, childbirth has been a very dangerous experience for mother and child. Advances in medicine over the past 100 years or so have significantly reduced the hazards associated with childbirth, at least for births in the developed world, but these advances depend upon medical personnel doing their jobs carefully and professionally. Luckily, doctors and other delivery room staff are well trained and do their jobs well in most cases. However, there are unfortunately cases when they don’t. When medical care falls below professional standards, a birth injury can lead to severe, lifelong health problems for the child.

Recently, a hospital has been trying to get a court to reverse an $18 million ruling against it in a birth injury lawsuit. The case involves a child, now 7 years old, who suffers from spastic quadriplegia, a severe form of cerebral palsy. A jury in another state found that the child’s condition was caused by the hospital staff’s negligence, when they failed to adequately respond to problems in the delivery.

Cerebral palsy can be caused when oxygen supply to a newborn is cut off during a difficult birth. Doctors should monitor oxygen and heart rates during labor to help minimize the hazard. If they fail to do so, and that failure results in injury to the baby, a court can find that the doctors were negligent.

Because the costs of caring for a disabled child can be so high, the damages in birth injury lawsuits can be very high. The hospital in this case claims that the amount the jury awarded exceeds its insurance coverage, and that it will have to reduce staff if it is forced to pay $18 million.

Birth injury lawsuits are technically and emotionally challenging, but they can be vital to helping families cope with the extreme expenses and difficulties of raising a disabled child. They can also be very important in encouraging medical professionals to improve their standards of care. Personal injury attorneys with experience in these sensitive cases can help Connecticut families to understand their rights and how a lawsuit might help them deal with a very difficult situation.

Source: WBKO.com, “TJ Samson Seeks Verdict Reversal After $18 Million Lawsuit,” Kayla Vanover. Dec. 16, 2014

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