On June 10, 2014, an Ohio medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $14.5 million after a two-week trial, for the alleged birth injuries suffered during delivery when the baby suffered a brain hemorrhage in utero. The verdict included $5 million for the child’s pain and suffering, $8 million for the cost of his expected future care, $1 million for the cost of services, and $500,000 for the child’s economic losses in the past. The medical malpractice verdict was against the hospital where the birth took place on April 10, 2003, and the attending obstetrician involved in the delivery.
The Underlying Facts
The 36-year-old woman went into labor on three occasions during her pregnancy in 2003. As a result of premature labor, the pregnant woman was admitted into the defendant hospital from March 20 to March 23, 2003; on March 25, 2003; and, from March 30 to April 4, 2003. During each hospital admission, medication was administered to stop labor, she was placed on bed rest, and labor was successfully stopped.
The plaintiffs alleged that the woman should have remained in the hospital during the last hospital admission because at that time she was slightly more than 24 weeks pregnant and the baby was at high risk if born prematurely at that time. The woman’s older child had been born eleven years earlier, at 32 weeks of pregnancy, as a result of an emergency Cesarean section delivery.
While the woman was at home on April 10, 2003, her water broke. She was admitted to the defendant hospital at 12:30 p.m. that day. The woman requested to be delivered by Cesarean section delivery at that time but the hospital medical personnel did not agree to her request. The defendant obstetrician arrived at the hospital at 5:30 p.m., at which time the woman requested prompt delivery of her baby. However, the obstetrician declined to perform the delivery at that time because the fetal monitor indicated that the baby was not then in distress.
The baby was delivered by emergency Cesarean section delivery at 9:00 p.m. that day, after he showed signs of fetal distress. The baby was born with a massive brain hemorrhage, which occurred after 5:30 p.m. As a result of the baby’s brain injury, the now 11-year-old child has cerebral palsy and suffers from cognitive delays, visual impairments, and other conditions that will require lifelong care.
The Ohio medical malpractice jury determined that the defendants committed medical negligence by not advising the plaintiff that there was a significant risk of a brain hemorrhage if the baby became distressed in utero, that the plaintiff was not offered alternatives to the care selected for her, and that there was negligence in not performing the Cesarean section delivery at the earlier time requested by the plaintiff.
Avoidable injuries to newborns are among the most emotional and costly medical malpractice claims. “What could have been” remains on the minds of the grieving parents forever.
If you may have a claim for a birth injury caused by medical negligence in Ohio or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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