Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settles for $4.9 Million

Staff Writer | November 16th, 2012 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

A cerebral palsy lawsuit was settled out-of-court for $4,900,000. The plaintiffs’ birth injury attorney argued that medical staff ignored signs of fetal distress, which resulted in serious brain damage to the child. Though the plaintiffs were prepared to call expert witnesses to establish misconduct, the case was settled through mediation before trial.

Hospital staff allegedly ignored signs of fetal distress

On January 22, 2000, the plaintiffs checked into the hospital for delivery. This was their third child, and as the mother plaintiff had experienced difficult pregnancies and births previously, they requested a cesarean section. The defendant obstetrician chose instead to induce labor with Pitocin. Over the next seven hours, the fetal heart rate slowed to as low as 80 beats per minute and leaking amniotic fluid was stained with green meconium. However, no countermeasures were taken to improve the child’s condition.

Cerebral palsy lawyer contends birth injuries caused brain damage

At birth, the plaintiff’s child was considered depressed; his Apgar scores were just 2, 6 and 7. The baby boy required assisted ventilation and oxygen, as he was not breathing. Less than eight hours after birth, the baby had begun to experience seizures. Medical staff treated him with Phenobarbital and then transferred him to Children’s Hospital for more advanced seizure treatment. On January 28, when the child was just eight days old, a head MRI revealed HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy), signs of birth asphyxia and other issues.

At the time of the trial, the child, then seven years old, had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Such is his condition that he cannot walk, talk or sit unassisted, and he requires help with all aspects of daily life, including feeding. He will never be capable of living independently.

Cerebral palsy lawsuit settles after mediation

The plaintiffs had planned to present expert testimony to prove that there were signs of fetal distress more than 6.5 hours before the baby was delivered, and that medical staff failed to respond properly. They stated that the minor child had as a result experienced birth asphyxia, or lack of oxygen during birth, which caused severe brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Though the case was scheduled for trial, the defendants agreed to settle out of court in the amount of $4,900,000.