In March 2010, an expecting mother was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital. The following February, she and her husband would sue the facility for the complications they believe were caused by the hospital staff. According to the lawsuit, the parents believed that their son had suffered a birth injury in the form of oxygen deprivation. This oxygen deprivation led to a diagnosis of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and later, cerebral palsy.
The parents believe doctors waited too long to perform a cesarean section on the woman. Attorneys for the family said that staff ignored distress in the fetus and failed to act accordingly before it was too late. The hospital disagrees, stating there were no signs of fetal distress and that other factors caused the delay of the procedure. One of these causes was the need for a blood test to determine if the mother could receive an epidural. Other pre-delivery procedures were reportedly performed, as well.
The case had been decided but was appealed. The parents had been awarded a $55 million judgment for the long-term brain damage that was reportedly caused by medical malpractice. Later, that award was decreased to $28.3 million due to state caps on damages. The most recent appeal has caused the case to be overturned, forcing a retrial because the hospital claimed it had not been given enough room to argue for the negligence of a midwife who was involved in the birthing process. Now, a lower court will hear the trial again and the midwife’s contribution to the injury will likely be considered.
Many families throughout the U.S. have been affected by birth injuries and other forms of malpractice. If you are living in Chicago and are one of these families, speak to an attorney to see if you could receive compensation through the court system.
Source: Baltimore Sun, “Court overturns Hopkins malpractice case” Andrea K. Walker, Jul. 10, 2013