When a careless driver hits your car, you expect compensation to pay for the damage. If you were injured in a car accident, you expect the person responsible to pay for your medical bills. But how can you compensate a newborn and parents after a birth injury that will require 24-hour care for the rest of the child's life?
Birth Injury Award Against Negligent Hospital
A jury in Philadelphia found that the Pottstown Memorial Medical Center was negligent in caring for a mother and child during labor. The jury found in favor of the victims for $78.5 million in a medical malpractice case where the child suffered severe brain damage.
Victoria Upsey knew something was wrong when she arrived at the Pennsylvania hospital at only 36 weeks into her pregnancy. There were signs of placental abruption. Doctors could not make a clear determination after fetal monitoring and performed an ultrasound, using questionable equipment. The mother was heartbroken when told that the unborn child had died.
The lawsuit determined the ultrasound equipment had not been maintained in over 10 years. The manual for the ultrasound machine indicated the equipment needed annual maintenance. An ultrasound technician was not even available at the hospital because it was a Sunday. Eventually, when the ultrasound technician was contacted at home, he said the obstetrician's determination that the child was dead was wrong.
After more than an hour passed, doctors revealed to the mother that they were wrong about the child. There were signs of life and she would need an emergency C-section. According to the lawsuit, doctors delayed a cesarean section surgery by 81 minutes. Due to the hospital's inaction, the jury found that the doctors were negligently responsible for failure to perform an emergency C-section in a timely manner.
Compensation in Birth Injury Cases
When a parent gives birth to a child with severe brain damage, money is not the primary concern. However, it is incredibly expensive to provide a mentally and physically disabled child with the necessary care for the rest of their life. Parents also have the difficult role of planning for the future of the child after the parents are no longer able to care for the child.
In a medical malpractice case, the “award” is generally for compensatory damages. This is a financial payment that is supposed to put the injury victim into the same or a similar position they would be but for the accident. Compensation is easier to think about when there is limited damage, like a broken arm. If the injury victim suffers a broken arm in a car accident, damages would include things like medical bills and payment for any days missed from work. However, damages can be much more complicated with permanent and severe injuries.
A child with severe birth injuries requires regular medical care throughout their entire lives. Just the medical bills alone, over a lifetime, can add up to tens of millions of dollars. If a parent has to care for a child, around the clock, that parent will not be able to work another job or earn an income. When a birth injury is preventable, it prevents the child and family from enjoying a normal life together.
Living With Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common disabilities in children, with about 10,000 babies born each year who will develop cerebral palsy. This is a general term for motor disabilities that are generally caused by damage to the brain and nerves, usually from hypoxia or anoxia, cutting off the oxygen supply to the baby's brain.
Many cerebral palsy patients cannot walk, and most suffer pain from muscle spasms, stiffness, or involuntary movement. Cerebral palsy patients may also suffer epilepsy, emotional and behavioral problems, and have cognitive problems.
Philadelphia Birth Injuries
Many birth injuries are preventable and you should not have to suffer the costs of your child's injury alone. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian fight to get compensation for families with injured children caused by medical negligence. Contact our law office online or by calling (800) 529-6162.