Birth injury lawsuit yields record breaking $55 million judgment

Many expectant mothers in Pittsburgh formally write or informally discuss a birthing plan with their OB/GYN. Things such as pain management, delivery method and the birth setting are often covered. As important as it is for both the patient and the healthcare provider to have an established plan, it is just as important for both parties to be flexible. There are a number of complications that can change a birthing plan during delivery. If a doctor fails to adapt to these unique circumstances, serious birth injuries can occur.

A Pennsylvania mother claims that negligence on the part of the hospital and her doctor during delivery directly resulted in the permanent disabilities that her son, now 4, suffers from. The boy has cerebral palsy and has difficulty walking and talking. His problems are believed to be caused by a lack of oxygen during delivery. Fetal monitors showed that the boy was not getting enough oxygen and should have been delivered via cesarean section because the baby size was too great for the petite mother to deliver vaginally. The baby became lodged during delivery and a vacuum was used to facilitate the birth, depriving him of even more oxygen. The family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, naming both the hospital and the doctor as defendants. A two week long civil trial recently ended with a record breaking $55 million dollar judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. It is unknown exactly how much the family will collect, however, because of a cap that attorneys previously agreed to.

While no amount of money can make up for a doctor’s negligence during birth, it can help make the quality of life better for both the caregivers and the child who was injured. An attorney can discuss the merits of a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Source: The Morning Call, “Lehigh County jury awards family $55 million in medical malpractice case against St. Luke’s,” Kevin Amerman, Dec. 23, 2013