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Parents reach settlement with hospital over baby’s brain injuries

When Illinois medical professionals make mistakes during labor and birth, babies are at risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries. Sometimes these injuries may require only a few extra days of medical treatment before a mother and her new baby can go home in good health.

Unfortunately, other mistakes that lead to birth injuries can cause babies to experience long-lasting health and developmental problems, especially when a baby suffers brain injuries during labor or birth.

In one couple’s case, their son is forced to suffer from severe retardation as a result of mistakes that were made by medical professionals while the child’s mother was in labor. Nothing can be done to reverse the effects of the mistakes. Instead, the child will suffer complications from the injuries for the rest of his life.

The couple did file a lawsuit against the hospital where their baby had been born. The medical malpractice lawsuit argued that the couple’s baby suffered head trauma when he was born because hospital staff made errors that prolonged the woman’s labor.

According to the lawsuit, the woman had been given Pitocin while she was in labor to help with contractions. However, staff made this decision without warning the woman about the potential side effects of Pitocin or without determining whether the drug was really necessary. Instead of helping to speed up the delivery and birth of her child, the woman’s labor lasted nearly 30 hours. As a result of the prolonged labor, the woman’s baby suffered serious head injuries.

The hospital never acknowledged that it made a mistake by giving the woman Pitocin. To avoid having the case go to trial, though, the hospital did decide to settle the lawsuit with the child’s parents. The family will receive nearly $4 million in damages to help cover the expenses of the child’s medical condition.

A child and family may be forced to live with the physical and emotional consequences of a doctor’s or nurse’s mistake, but this does not mean that they should be forced to live with the financial consequences of such a mistake.

Source: Reuters, “Iowa to Pay $3.75M for Baby’s Brain Injuries,” Andrew Lu, July 2, 2012

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