Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

Birth injury leads to $32.8 million jury award

| Jul 12, 2014 | News Articles |

Patients in Chicago have a right to expect that the most basic standard of care will be met when they are being treated at any medical facility by a doctor or other medical professional. That standard should never be compromised, especially for expectant mothers and their unborn children. When families anticipate the arrival of new babies, the very last thing they want to think of is how their babies could be seriously hurt by the negligence of the medical staff who delivers them.  However, medical error is often a contributing factor to the injuries babies sustain when they are delivered.

Award for birth injury victim

A West Chester, Pennsylvania woman faced that situation when her two nurses failed to notify the doctor that her baby’s heart rate had fallen precipitously from a healthy 150 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute, most likely due to a kink in her umbilical cord. This occurred at 1:07 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2009. When the doctor entered the room about 13 minutes later and discovered the baby was in distress, she immediately told the nurses to notify their supervisor of the situation and call for an anesthesiologist so she could perform an emergency cesarean section to deliver the baby. Nine more minutes passed before the nurses told their supervisor of a need for the anesthesiologist, who was not located until 1:36 a.m., a full 16 minutes after the doctor called for one. The baby girl was delivered at 1:49 am with severe brain damage after having gone without sufficient oxygen for around 42 minutes.

Due to the child’s injuries, she suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The little girl can only speak six words and experiences great difficulty when she tries to walk or talk. She endures spasms in her arms and legs, and can only minimally control her neck. A medical expert witness testified during the two-week trial that if Lily had been born between 15 and 17 minutes earlier, she would have experienced minimal brain damage or possibly no brain damage at all. After hearing the family’s case, a jury awarded the girl $32.8 million.

Birth injury and its prevalence 

As reported in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics Reports, out of 27 reporting states, there were 2,748,302 incidents of significant birth injury in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available.   Fewer injuries occur in small hospitals, and baby males experience more injuries than baby females. The most common injuries include bone fractures, brain damage from lack of oxygen, bleeding in the skull or brain, facial paralysis, and spinal cord injuries. Families of children who suffered severe complications during childbirth which resulted in a birth injury like these can contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney for a consultation regarding their matter.