Pennsylvania Family Wins $4 Million in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

Staff Writer | September 25th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News, Recent Settlements

Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit - PA Family Wins $4 Million Birth Injury AwardA jury recently awarded $4 million to a woman and her daughter in a cerebral palsy lawsuit. The baby, now four years of age, suffers from cerebral palsy and neurological injuries following alleged negligence by an obstetrician who neglected to perform a Cesarean section in response to fetal distress. Court documents indicate the mother’s labor was delayed, yet the obstetrician continued with natural delivery, wrote The Morning Call. The baby’s mother suffers incontinence and is unable to walk.

The four-day trial involved evidence that the physician ignored signs that he should have considered performing a Cesarean delivery instead of proceeding with natural childbirth. For his part, the obstetrician argued that he provided appropriate care, adding that the case involved a complication that was handled appropriately. According to The Morning Call, court papers in the cerebral palsy lawsuit indicated that an ultrasound performed on the mother four days prior indicated that the baby weighed about 10 pounds. The baby’s mother and maternal grandmother were concerned about the baby’s size; however, the doctor, according to court documents, assured them there was nothing to be worried about.

Labor stopped for eight hours following the mother’s admission to the hospital. Expert witness testimony indicated that the obstetrician should have been aware that, given the circumstances, a Cesarean delivery, not natural childbirth, was a safer route. Instead, the doctor moved forward with vaginal delivery, utilizing forceps when the mother could no longer push. The baby’s shoulder became trapped on her mother’s pelvis, leading to a 3 ½-minute delay in which the baby did not receive oxygen, according to testimony. The baby required resuscitation by the neonatal intensive care team and, four hours later, was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to undergo a procedure to cool the brain so that oxygen deprivation damage could be minimized. The baby remained hospitalized for four months.

The physician argued that medical literature states that a baby is not at risk for brain injury until it is deprived of oxygen for at least six minutes; he no longer practices at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Fetal distress and cerebral palsy

Fetal distress can occur under a number of circumstances, including the baby receiving insufficient oxygen in utero, which can occur if, for instance, the baby is abnormally positioned or presented. Fetal distress can lead to birth injuries and life-long complications, including cerebral palsy. In fact, insufficient oxygen supply in utero is a key sign of fetal distress, as is decreased fetal movement felt by the mother, such as what is seen in stalled labor.

Fetal distress is often preventable or treatable; however, if medical professionals do not act swiftly, the baby may suffer serious birth injuries including brain damage and cerebral palsy, which can cause speech difficulties; vision, hearing, and motor problems; limited movement; and learning disabilities. An emergency Cesarean section is one way to eliminate or significantly reduce fetal distress.

Consult with birth injury malpractice lawyers

If your child suffered a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, caused by doctors or hospital staff who were negligent in identifying or treating fetal distress, your family may be eligible to receive compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and the effects on your child’s quality of life by filing cerebral palsy lawsuit.

The firm of Balkin & Eisbrouch has 45 years of malpractice litigation experience and understands the emotional and financial hardships placed on families whose children have been injured by negligent medical care. Our birth injury malpractice lawyers know that your child’s well-being is your top priority. We urge you to reach out to us at 1-855-60-BIRTH for a free case evaluation today.