Some birth injuries occur through no fault of anyone. On the other hand, many injuries are caused by the negligence of medical professionals. Doctors and support staff can be negligent in several ways, including, but not limited to, failing to anticipate certain problems during the delivery, misreading tests or x-rays, and/or failing to sufficiently inquire about relevant factors in the mother’s medical history.
In a recent case, doctors were held liable to the tune of $21 million dollars after a boy’s birth was delayed, causing severe injury to the newborn. The boy’s mother successfully argued that she should have received a cesarean section. Instead of performing a c-section, her doctors had her wait to deliver the baby vaginally. At the time of the vaginal delivery, it appeared that the baby’s oxygen was depleted.
The lack of oxygen caused a severe case of cerebral palsy. The boy’s mother claimed that the delay in birth caused the boy’s injuries. She argued that if the c-section would have been performed at the first signs of distress as opposed to waiting for the mother to deliver vaginally, the boy’s oxygen would not have been depleted, and the boy would not suffer from cerebral palsy.
The boy’s brain appears to function normally, but he does not have control over his limbs. The hospital argued that there were no signs of oxygen deprivation, and thus, the injuries could have been due to the fact that the boy was born prematurely.
The fact-finder in this case was a jury, which ultimately sided with the boy’s family. The jury awarded the family $18 million for future medical expenses. Large awards are not uncommon in birth injury cases. Injuries are usually extensive and permanent. Thus, expenses are typically high. This is why medical professionals work tirelessly to try to get medical malpractice caps enacted to protect themselves.