Martha Fountain was full-term when she went to the University of Iowa Health Care hospital to deliver her baby. Her pregnancy was routine and she did not expect any complications. When her contractions began, the UIHC staff administered Pitocin. After excessive contractions, the staff continued administering Pitocin. The baby was having difficulty descending into the birth canal and recordings showed significant trauma to the baby’s head. After being in labor for 28-hours, the baby was delivered by cesarean section.
Fountain filed a medical malpractice claim against UIHC, alleging negligence during labor caused the baby to suffer birth injuries. Pitocin is a synthetic hormone that can be used during labor to speed up delivery. However, according to the lawsuit, Pitocin can cause excessive contractions and may end up prolonging delivery or causing a lack of blood flow to the baby’s brain.
The child now suffers from cerebral palsy and other health conditions. The case was settled before going to trial, for $3.75 million. The damages will provide for medical care and other needs for the child’s future. The family estimated it would cost $6.3 million or more for lifetime care for the child.
Cerebral Palsy Birth Injuries
Palsy is a term for types of paralysis-related conditions, including weakness, loss of feeling, and uncontrollable body movements or tremors. Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability for children. About 10,000 children born each year will develop cerebral palsy. CP can affect different areas of the brain and cause different types of movement disorders including spasticity, uncontrolled movements, and poor balance or coordination.
In some cases, cerebral palsy is caused by hypoxia, or reduced oxygen to the child’s brain during pregnancy, labor, or childbirth. Lack of oxygen can cause brain cells to die, leaving permanent brain damage. Children with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can have developmental injuries and physical disabilities for the rest of their lives.
The costs of treating a child with cerebral palsy or other birth injuries can be astronomical. An infant born with CP may have 70 years ahead of them dealing with the complications related to the brain injury. This includes:
- Mental health services
- Educational services
- Home modifications
Individuals with cerebral palsy may also be more likely to require regular treatment and hospitalization for other health conditions, including pressure sores, UTIs, or other infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2003 study found the average lifetime costs for caring for a child with cerebral palsy in the United States was $941,000. Adjusted for inflation, in 2020, the costs for lifetime care would be more than $1.3 million.
Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuits
Birth injuries can leave a child with irreparable abnormalities or impair their physical, mental, or emotional development. When birth injuries are caused by a medical professional’s negligence or mistake, the child and parents deserve to be compensated.
The medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian represent victims of birth injuries across the country. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.
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