During August 2018, a New Mexico medical malpractice birth injury jury returned its verdict in favor a child who suffered permanent, catastrophic birth injuries because the physician who provided prenatal care to his mother failed to properly monitor the growth of the baby in utero that resulted in the vaginal delivery of an eleven-and-a-half-pound baby boy.
The 36-year-old mother was diabetic and therefore at risk of delivering a large baby. The plaintiff (the baby’s mother) alleged that she should have received a series of ultrasounds to determine the baby’s growth and size during her 17 visits to the defendant prenatal clinic. The measurements that were taken indicated a strong probability that the baby was large. The doctor incorrectly estimated the baby’s weight at 8 pounds prior to the mother going into labor. The doctor allegedly failed to follow the recommendations of specialists that his patient undergo further testing.
According to the New Mexico birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit, the mother pleaded with the delivering physician to perform a Cesarean section delivey but the doctor insisted that she have a vaginal birth. Because of the large size of the baby, his shoulders became stuck in the birth canal for ten minutes during the delivery, causing oxygen deprivation. The New Mexico medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the physician pulled the baby out using vacuum and in the process applied too much force to the baby’s body. As a result, the baby suffered a severe and permanent brachial plexus injury that resulted in a withered right arm. The mother suffered a severe laceration due to the vaginal delivery. She testified that it takes the now 5-year-old child thirty minutes to put on his underwear.
Because the baby was without oxygen for too long during delivery, he suffered a catastrophic hypoxic ischemic brain injury. He cannot feed himself or take care of himself. He will require assistance and attendant care for the rest of his life.
The defendant doctor, who the New Mexico medical malractice jury found to be negligent, died at age 52 in January 2017. His employer, the defendant prenatal clinic, will be responsible for the jury’s verdict, which includes $19.8 million for the child and $13.3 million for the mother. The jury awarded an additional $40 million in punitive damages. The defendant is expected to appeal.
The plaintiff’s New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer stated after the verdict, “The jury was angry. This verdict, to me, represents the power of a jury. They will effect change by their vote here, by their award. That will get the attention of every health care provider in New Mexico and, actually, across the country. When health care providers hear about this verdict, they will make sure they make changes in their policies so that another little boy and mom don’t have to suffer.”
If you or your baby suffered a birth injury (or worse) during labor and/or delivery in New Mexico or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a New Mexico birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you and your child in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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