Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Woman Awarded $16 Million After Traumatic Birth Experience

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Aug 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Bringing a new life into the world is not an easy experience. Sometimes, unexpected problems can put both the child's life in danger, or endanger the mother. Having experienced medical professionals on hand can help patients through a difficult birth. However, when a medical facility makes misrepresentations to the patient, the delivery can be a traumatic experience.

Caroline Malatesta was not naive to what childbirth would be like. She already had three children when she decided to give birth to her fourth child at the Brookwood Medical Center, in Birmingham, Alabama. Malatesta and her husband had options when it came to choosing a facility, and they chose Brookwood because of their focus on natural birth and empowering the mother with delivery choices.

Things changed when Malatesta arrived at Brookwood after going into labor, as she told Cosmopolitan magazine. When she arrived at the birthing room, a nurse told her to go to the bathroom because she wouldn't be able to get out of bed for the rest of the labor. However, her doctor had told her she would have wireless monitoring, and would be able to move around. The nurse argued with her and said her doctor was not on call.

The nurse continued to tell the experienced mother what she could and could not do. She had to change into a hospital gown, even though the hospital represented that delivery could be done in the patient's own clothes. The nurse told her she had to deliver on her back, despite prior representations. Lying on her back was painful, so Malatesta rested on her hands and knees. The nurse grabbed her wrists and forced her onto her back.

The baby's head started crowning, but to prevent the child from being delivered, another nurse held the baby's head inside the mother's vagina to prevent him from being delivered until she complied with the nurse's order to lie on her back. Malatesta was being held down against her will, as the nurses forced her to stay on her back. After six minutes of struggling, a doctor finally came in as the child's head was released and he was quickly delivered.

For weeks, Malatesta had asked the facility why she was forced to lay on her back, and why the nurses held the child's head to prevent him from being delivered. However, she says she never got much of an answer. It was only later that she realized the nurse's actions caused her a permanent nerve injury. She suffered abnormal nerve sensations, pins and needles, burning, and numbness.

Instead of answers or accountability, all Malatesta got was the corporate run-around. A patient advocate declined her request for a meeting, and she finally had to resort to a lawsuit to get the hospital to take notice of her complaints. A jury found for the Malatesta's, awarding her $16 million for her injuries related to the traumatic birth.

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a medical mistake during childbirth, the Gilman & Bedigian team is fully equipped to handle the complex process of filing a malpractice claim. Our staff, including a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience, will focus on getting you compensated, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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