Delivering a baby may seem like commonplace today but a chance always exists that something can go wrong, even under medical supervision. Such was the case for Nicole Welker and her son when medication administered during delivery may have caused extreme birth defects with lifelong impacts.
A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed by Nicole Welker against Dr. Thomas Carnevale. Welker was treated by Dr. Carnevale after being admitted to Clearfield Hospital in active labor. Welker claimed that both Dr. Carnevale and Clearfield Hospital failed to provide appropriate medical care, including that they improperly administered the drug Pitocin to her while she was in labor and that the drug caused serious and permanent neurological disabilities to her son. Pitocin is a combination of a nonapeptide protein — which means it’s made of nine amino acids. It is basically the same hormone a woman’s own brain creates to cause contractions.
Welker argued that Dr. Carnevale should have realized that the child’s health was deteriorating during labor. However, instead of discontinuing the medication, Dr. Carnevale kept Welker on Pitocin for the remaining duration of the delivery. Dr. Carnevale also dismissed the possibility of an assisted delivery. The delivery continued for another ten minutes until the Dr. Carnevale performed an episiotomy and delivered the baby. The baby was diagnosed with spastic tetraparesis cerebral palsy, a form of the disorder that impacts the movement in all limbs.
The defendant argued that vaginal delivery was the correct choice under the given circumstances. While arguments were made that the doctor’s treatment decisions were entirely appropriate, it was shown that Dr. Carnevale could not remember whether he had ordered nurses to stop administering Pitocin.
The jury ultimately sided with the plaintiff and ordered Dr. Carnevale and Clearfield Hospital, to pay $14.5 million in damages. In Pennsylvania, percentage of liability is assigned in every verdict. In this case, 60% of the liability was assigned to Dr. Carnevale and 40% to the hospital. The multi-million damage award was intended in part to cover the round-the-clock medical care the family claimed their child will require for the rest of his life.
Medical malpractice can have devastating effects that last a lifetime. If you have been injured by a physician’s neglect, attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to get you the full compensation to which you are entitled. Call 800-529-6162 today or contact them online for a free case evaluation. They handle cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
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