A Bismarck, North Dakota jury rendered a $4 million verdict in favor of a brain-damaged baby on November 18, 2011, after three and one-half weeks of trial and more than ten hours of jury deliberations. The case involved claims of medical malpractice due to the medical negligence of a midwife who allegedly failed to provide proper care during the delivery of the baby. The medical malpractice case was filed in 2009 for the baby’s delayed delivery that resulted in permanent brain damage, mental retardation, and severe behavioral problems that require the child to have around-the-clock care.
The medical malpractice claim alleged that the midwife negligently failed to deliver the baby many hours earlier than the actual time of birth and that the delay caused the baby to suffer lack of oxygen to the brain that caused the baby’s permanent brain damage. The medical malpractice lawsuit further claimed that had the midwife properly and timely interpreted the fetal heart monitoring during the delay, the fetal distress would have been noted and a faster delivery accomplished that would have avoided the tragic results.
Fetal heart monitoring during labor and delivery, which has been around since the early 1970s, involves the continuous electronic measurement of the fetal heart rate which can be viewed as tracings on a screen that can be recorded either continuously or periodically to paper (known as fetal heart monitoring “strips”). Measuring and monitoring the fetal heart rate during labor and delivery may be important because changes in the fetal heart rate can signify that the baby is under too much stress that may be depriving the baby of oxygen, and therefore the baby needs to be delivered promptly. Fetal heart monitoring is used in more than 85% of the approximately 4 million live deliveries in the United States each year.
Fetal heart monitoring is an important tool used in making decisions regarding labor and delivery. In the North Dakota medical malpractice case, the jury evidently determined that the midwife’s alleged failure to properly use and interpret the fetal heart monitoring was the cause of the oxygen deprivation experienced by the baby during labor and delivery and that the baby’s brain damage resulted from the lack of oxygen (the jury apparently disagreed with the defense’s theory that the baby’s problems were due to other factors that were not caused by medical malpractice).
In cases involving injuries to babies that occur during labor and delivery, medical malpractice attorneys can provide essential assistance to the distraught parents to help determine what caused the injuries to the baby, if the injuries were avoidable with proper and timely medical care, and if the injuries were due to medical malpractice.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you in investigating a potential medical malpractice claim. You may also reach us by telephone, toll free, at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.