Living in an age of medical and scientific advancements, we have a tendency to think of our health care providers – and specialist doctors in particular – as being infallible. The truth of the mater is they are simply human who can cause harm even when they are trying to help. That’s the case with most birth injuries that give rise to medical malpractice claims.
Recently, a jury in Ohio awarded $11.35 million to a boy, now 16, who reportedly suffers from intellectual and social disabilities after suffering a brain injury at birth. His parents say the OB/GYN and her practice were negligent in the delivery of the boy in April 2001. According to court records obtained by The Akron Beacon Journal, the child was born via vaginal delivery, wherein the doctor used a vacuum and forceps. This was despite the fact there were several indications the boy needed to be delivered via C-section. These factors included the fact that patient was a first-time mother, the baby was large and also his head was facing the wrong direction. Plaintiffs alleged the baby was traumatized as a result of the delivery, with evidence of contusions and bruising.
He was thereafter hospitalized in the facility’s neonatal intensive care unit, where doctors explained the child may suffer lasting injuries. Although he initially appeared to function normally, social and developmental delays became apparent as he got older. The couple was hopeful the child would “grow out of” these issues, but by the time he was between 9- and 10-years-old, they concluded that the reality was he would not. It was at that point the parents contacted a birth injury lawyer to help investigate their claim.
One early diagnosis indicated the boy had autism spectrum disorder. However, an MRI later indicated the boy suffered from some type of brain damage. The conclusion reached at that time was the boy had suffered this injury during birth. Supporting evidence for this theory lie in the fact that the area of the boy’s brain that the MRI indicated suffered the most damage was precisely where he had the largest contusion on his newborn photo. This was a key piece of evidence, plaintiff’s attorney noted.
In the birth injury lawsuit, the boy’s parents said they had incurred substantial medical expenses already for their son and would continue to do so throughout their lives. Meanwhile, he personally suffered loss of income due to the brain injury as well.
Defendant retorted that she was not to blame for the boy’s brain injury and further that her actions fell within the applicable standard of care, which is the standard proof burden for medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida and Ohio both.
The jurors disagreed with the physician, finding she was negligent due to:
- Poor medical charting;
- Poor communication with the boy’s mother during labor, resulting in a process that was protracted and prolonged;
- Missing the opportunity for a C-section;
- Lack of care to the boy and his mother while they were in distress.
Ultimately, jurors awarded $9.5 million in future economic losses, as well as $1.85 million for future non-economic losses (i.e., pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of life enjoyment).
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Summit jury awards $11.35 million in lawsuit involving Massillon boy with brain injury, Feb. 16, 2018, By Stephanie Warsmith, The Akron Beacon Journal
More Blog Entries:
Palm Beach Head Injury Lawsuits, July 6, 2018, Palm Beach County Birth Injury Attorney Blog