The state of Iowa will pay $3.75 million in settlement of a birth injury/ medical malpractice lawsuit which claims that employees at the University of Iowa Hospital were negligent, and that this left the baby with severe birth injuries.
The lawsuit had been filed by a couple from Iowa City, and their son a five-year-old boy who currently suffers from a number of conditions, including cerebral palsy.
According to the lawsuit, the then 20-year-old pregnant woman had visited the University Of Iowa Hospital to give birth in 2007. There had been no complications during the pregnancy at all. According to the lawsuit, staff at the hospital gave the woman a synthetic hormone called pitocin, which is typically administered to women to speed up labor. They did this despite the fact that her contractions at that point were quite frequent and quite strong. Part of the problem with pitocin use is that, in some cases, this hormone leads to excessive contractions that can actually prolong the process of delivery. This can place the baby at risk of serious oxygen deprivation, when it is unable to descend into the birth canal.
Staff at the hospital continued to administer the pitocin in spite of having access to recordings which showed that the baby was suffering significant trauma to the head. Finally, after 28 hours of labor, the decision to deliver the baby via C-section was made, and the baby was born. However, he had suffered severe birth injuries by this point, and currently struggles with a number of health problems. The couple alleged in their lawsuit that it would cost them more than $6 million to care for the child over his lifetime. They will now receive a $3.75 million settlement from the state.