The parents of a Wisconsin baby who died 10 days after birth may never know whether medical negligence was the cause of their baby’s death because Wisconsin’s cap on noneconomic damages in the amount of $500,000 makes it financially infeasible for Wisconsin medical malpractice lawyers to investigate if medical negligence caused their daughter’s death and file a Wisconsin medical malpractice lawsuit on their behalf. The parents have tried to find a Wisconsin medical malpractice lawyer to help them, but the cap on noneconomic damages in Wisconsin was either the primary reason the malpractice lawyers had to decline to represent them or was a contributing factor in their decision.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The expectant mother’s water broke during a routine medical exam at her doctor’s office on August 22, 2012, when she was 39 weeks pregnant, which is considered full term. The husband and wife were sent to a local hospital where it was anticipated that their baby would be successfully delivered shortly. However, the woman experienced cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord drops through the open cervix into the vagina ahead of the baby, which can then become trapped against the baby’s body during delivery and deprive the baby of oxygen; cord prolapse occurs in approximately one in every 300 births in the United States) early the next morning, which could not have been predicted or prevented.
The baby was delivered by emergency Cesarean section a short time later, but the baby had an Apgar score of 0 at birth. The baby was resuscitated but the Apgar score was only 2 after 5 minutes. The baby never opened her eyes or cried; she died 10 days after her birth. An autopsy determined that she suffered severe brain damage as a result of the deprivation of oxygen during her birth.
In general, the standard of care provides physicians a 30-minute window to perform an emergency Cesarean section after the determination is made that the emergency procedure is necessary. In this Wisconsin case, the medical records evidently indicated that the emergency Cesarean section procedure was done at the 30-minute mark, yet the parents believe that the delivery occurred between 35 and 38 minutes after the attending physicians made the decision to deliver by C-section.
The actual time between the decision and the action may be critical but the closeness of the timing, along with the cap on noneconomic damages, have led to several Wisconsin medical malpractice lawyers declining to represent the grieving parents, which leaves them with unanswered questions as to whether medical negligence was the cause of their daughter’s injuries and death.
The Wisconsin couple’s experiences in being unable to find a medical malpractice lawyer to investigate their potential medical malpractice claim because of Wisconsin’s cap (limit) on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases is not unique: medical malpractice victims in U.S. states that have enacted caps in medical malpractice cases are experiencing similar frustrations and lack of access to the courts to obtain fair compensation for their serious injuries due to medical negligence.
If you have been seriously injured (or worse) due to possible medical malpractice in Wisconsin or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Wisconsin medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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