In most cases of malpractice during childbirth, it is often due to a misjudgment by the doctor or other staff. In some cases, however, it is patently the hospital’s fault, either by providing insufficient staffing or outdated machines. In this case, the hospital was at fault on both accounts.
There is a case of a three year old girl in Pottstown, Pennsylvania who suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy while she was born. This is a condition where insufficient blood or oxygen is being delivered to the child’s brain. This can lead to permanent damage, which can cause developmental delays and permanent conditions such as cerebral palsy. To prevent such accidents, proper monitoring must be maintained at all times during the delivery.
In this case, the obstetrician could not find the baby’s heartbeat using an ultrasound device. He informed the child’s mother that her unborn child was dead. She disputed this, saying that she could feel the baby kicking still. The doctor had to call a technician from his home so a newer device could be used. This took over an hour, and all the while, the baby’s brain was deprived of oxygen. The technician found the heartbeat, and an emergency C-section delivery was performed, but the damage had already been done. The child had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
In the trial, it was determined that the obstetrician did the best that he could do given the circumstances. The hospital was determined to be completely at fault for the damages. This was due to them not staffing an appropriate technician on that day, and by the outdated ultrasound machine, which had not been serviced in ten years.
The family was awarded $78 million in damages. This may seem like a lot of money to most people, but any medical malpractice attorney can tell you that this is, at best, barely sufficient for the lifetime of medical care, assistive devices and home modifications-not to mention the pain and suffering of the child and the family.
Contact Snyder and Snyder's team of medical malpractice lawyers immediately if you and a loved one were affected by any type of birth injury that may have caused short or long term damage.
For more information about the case, click here.