An Oregon family recently filed a $40 million lawsuit, stemming from injuries they allege were caused by medical malpractice on the part of doctors and hospital staff during the delivery process. According to a report in the Statesman Journal, the lawsuit names three physicians, two clinics and the hospital where the birth occurred. The lawsuit alleges that the birth mother’s pregnancy was uneventful, with no complications or hints of birthing issues. She reportedly went into the hospital when she was 15 days overdue, with a pre-established plan for induction of labor. According to the report, the baby’s head was not positioned correctly in the cervix at the time of delivery, which prompted a C-section. When the baby was born, the doctor’s reportedly found that he inhaled meconium while still in the womb.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), meconium aspiration syndrome is a serious condition, causing inflammation within the baby’s lungs and significant difficulty with breathing. Symptoms of the condition include:
*Bluish skin color
*Rapid or no breathing
*Limpness at birth
The baby was not breathing at delivery, according to the Statesman Journal article. A mobile crisis team was called in from another facility and the lawsuit alleges that one of the physicians removed the endotracheal tube, which was used to open an airway, for approximately 45 minutes. When the crisis team arrive, the baby was transported to another health facility and the parents were reportedly told that the lack of oxygen to the brain resulted in brain damage. Two years later, the child was reportedly diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The lawsuit alleges that perceived inaction by the delivery doctor and staff caused the birth related injury.
Cerebral palsy is not curable, according to the NIH. It is a neurological disorder that can permanently affect muscle coordination and the ability of the child to move his body freely. The condition is generally present at birth, though it may not be detected until months or even years into the child’s life.
The likelihood of the case’s success is difficult to predict. The article includes other area doctors, offering their opinion on the merits of the case. One doctor is reported as saying the meconium could have entered the baby’s airwaves prior to the delivery, meaning that the damage to the brain may have also occurred while the baby was in the womb, instead of during the delivery.
The child is now six-years-old and, according to the article, his family continues to learn more about his disability on a daily basis. He regularly sees therapists to assist him with the movement of his muscles. The child reportedly must also wear a leg brace to assist with correction of his foot and calf muscle. The NIH reports that there are medications, treatments and surgeries that can assist a child with cerebral palsy in developing his motor skills and communication improvement.
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call an experienced attorney for a free consultation. The attorneys of Levin & Perconti will tirelessly work to pursue any relief to which you are entitled.