The parents of a now 6-year-old child have filed an Oregon birth injury medical malpractice case against an Oregon hospital where the labor and delivery took place, three defendant doctors who participated in the labor and delivery, and two clinics, alleging that their son suffered a brain injury during birth due to the lack of oxygen that resulted in the little boy being diagnosed at two years of age with cerebral palsy.
The first-time parents allege that the mother had an uneventful pregnancy until she went to the defendant hospital on December 11, 2007, which she had chosen for delivery based on favorable reviews by friends and others, at which time she was 15 days overdue. The plaintiffs allege that the hospital staff gave the mother medications to induce labor, the dosage of which was increased over time. She was subsequently told to begin pushing but the baby’s head was not properly positioned within the cervix, causing the baby to become distressed as evidenced by the deceleration of the baby’s heartbeat to 60 beats per minute over a period of six minutes.
A decision was finally made to perform an emergency Cesarean section delivery but the baby evidently had inhaled his own fecal matter (it is not uncommon for baby’s to defecate in utero when distressed), which is known as meconium aspiration. A family physician attending the birth immediately attempted to treat the newborn with oxygen and by clearing the newborn’s airway. A medical team from Oregon Health & Science University Hospital (OHSU) was summoned but before they arrived, one of the doctors removed the baby’s endotracheal tube for a period of 45 minutes, as alleged by the parents’ medical malpractice lawsuit.
When the team arrived, they stabilized the baby and transported him to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of OSHU (the hospital where the baby was delivered did not have a NICU). It was at OHSU that the parents first learned that their newborn son had suffered a brain injury due to oxygen deprivation. The child’s frontal lobe of his brain was damaged, which controls emotions, socialization, and decision-making. When the child turned two, his condition was diagnosed as cerebral palsy, which affected his ability to crawl, walk, and talk. The child will need to wear a brace on his right leg for the rest of his life.
The Oregon medical malpractice case seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $40 million for economic and noneconomic damages. The medical malpractice defendants deny the plaintiffs’ allegations that medical negligence was the cause of their son’s condition. The medical malpractice trial is scheduled to begin on January 20, 2015.
If a member of your family suffered a birth injury that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly seek to consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate whether the birth injuries were due to medical negligence, and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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