Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm works with families who have suffered brain injuries as a result of negligent medical treatment. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways that brain injury lawsuits are filed which link to medical malpractice is when errors are made during childbirth. In these cases, infants often have oxygen deprived to their brain during birth with severe consequences. These children can face permanent disability or even death as a result.
When that happens and the injury was caused in whole or in part by the misconduct of medical professionals, then a civil suit is often appropriate. The legal system allows families affected to receive accountability and redress. In certain circumstances these cases can go to a trial, but more often than not a settlement is reached between the parties before the need to go through a trial.
In fact, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys recently reached a settlement agreement with Northwestern Memorial Hospital on behalf of a family who lost a newborn after a brain injury.
A 44-year old mother became pregnant with twins following an in vitro fertilization procedure. The pregnancy went well, without any apparent complications. When the time for delivery came, the mother went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The first twin was delivered without problems.
However, things did not go as smoothly with the delivery of the second twin.
It wasn’t long before the child began showing signs of fetal distress. Fetal distress is a general term that refers to signs that the unborn child may be in trouble. It includes to a wide range of signs and symptoms. However, in general, when these problems are seen, special steps often need to be taken by medical professionals to keep the child safe.
In this case, after signs of fetal distress were exhibited, the attending physician used a range of techniques to deliver the second twin. A vacuum extraction device was employed and forceps were used on multiple occasions in an effort to get the baby out. In addition, the doctor performed an internal cephalic version-a maneuver where a hand is inserted into the uterus to deliver the baby.
As a result of the aggressive measures and delayed birth, the child was born with severe injuries. His brain had been deprived of oxygen, and he suffered multiple brain and spinal hemorrhages. The injuries ultimately proved to be too much for the young child to overcome, and he died six days after his birth.
The Lawsuit & Settlement
The family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital for the care provided by the medical team. In particular, the suit alleged that the doctor was negligent in not ordering an emergency C-section in the face of ongoing fetal distress. As a result of this failure, the birth was delayed and aggressive techniques were used which resulted in the injuries that proved fatal.
Fortunately the parties in the case were able to reach a settlement in the matter without the need to go to trial. As part of the agreement Northwestern Memorial Hospital agreed to provide the family with $3.5 million for their conduct.