A woman in Ohio was awarded $10.9 million in a birth injury malpractice case after poor advice from an on-call OB/GYN led to her suffering a massive stroke which left her permanently impaired.
The woman was 26-weeks pregnant when she began experiencing a severe headache along with abdominal pain. She called her OB/GYN’s office and received a return call from an on-call physician, as her regular physician was not in. The on-call physician told the woman that a gastric condition was most likely responsible for the symptoms she was experiencing, and that she did not need to go to the hospital.
The next day, the woman suffered a stroke. The baby was delivered by an emergency Cesarean section, premature but safe. The woman, unfortunately, was left with "permanent physical, emotional, and cognitive injuries as a result of her stroke."
Pregnancy and Stroke
Hospitalizations as a result of pregnancy-related strokes grew by 54% from 4,000 in 1994 to 6,000 in 2007, according to a study published in 2011 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. The study found that in 2006-2007, 0.71 per 1000 delivery hospitalizations were as a result of a pregnancy-related stroke.
Though the defense argued that no aspect of the woman’s pregnancy should have alerted the defendants to the fact that the woman would be at risk for a stroke, the jury found in favor of the woman and her family. The $10.9 million verdict includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Birth injuries are an unfortunate reality, and can occur without warning in spite of the appearance of a normal, healthy pregnancy. 7 out of every 1,000 infants born in the U.S. suffer a birth injury, which means 28,000 infants are born every year with a birth injury.