Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settles for $9 Million

Sarah Klein | February 21st, 2014 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News, Recent Settlements

Cerebral palsy birth injury settlementA three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has reached a preliminary settlement of his lawsuit against the Hawaii military hospital where he was born.  Lawyers for the family of Noah Whitney announced the $9 million cerebral palsy birth injury settlement, which the U.S. Department of Justice must approve before it can be finalized.

Noah was born in 2010 at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu with “catastrophic brain injury” due to medical staff negligence, according to the family’s lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Hawaii in July 2012.

Birth injury settlement details

Laura Whitney’s obstetrician was monitoring her pregnancy very carefully, as she had a history of miscarriages and the birth of her first child had been quite complicated.  On September 7, 2010, she went to the hospital complaining of serious pain in her lower abdomen.  She was about 35 weeks pregnant.

According to the lawsuit, medical center personnel failed to respond properly to indications of a ruptured uterus, failed promptly to notify the obstetrician who had been carefully following Whitney’s pregnancy, and waited too long to perform a Cesarean section.  As a result of these negligent acts, Noah suffered severe brain injury that will require care around the clock for the rest of his life, the lawsuit charges.

If the Department of Justice gives final approval to the settlement, Noah’s family will receive an immediate payment of $5 million, with the remaining $4 million to be paid out over time.

How medical mistakes cause birth injuries

Birth injuries such as cerebral palsy are, unfortunately, all too common.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year some 10,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy.  Some cases result from genetic factors, but many others are caused by medical negligence during the birth process.

In those instances, a cerebral palsy lawsuit may be appropriate.  Examples of such negligence include:

  • Prolonged lack of oxygen during labor, sometimes due to shoulder dystocia (a condition where the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone, blocking progress down the birth canal)
  • Failure to perform a Cesarean section promptly once the need for its performance becomes clear
  • Lack of proper monitoring of infant’s health during pregnancy and delivery
  • Failure to diagnose infections during pregnancy

If substandard medical treatment causes a birth injury, a family may face enormous medical and other expenses that last throughout the infant’s life.

According to the non-profit United Cerebral Palsy organization, a person with cerebral palsy may display some or all of the following symptoms:

  • muscle tightness or spasticity
  • disturbance in gait or mobility
  • involuntary movement
  • difficulty in swallowing and
  • problems with speech
  • difficulty in feeding
  • impairment of sight, hearing or speech
  • abnormal sensation and perception
  • seizures
  • difficulty with bladder and bowel control
  • learning disabilities
  • problems with breathing due to postural difficulties
  • skin disorders due to pressure sores

Legal advocates for victims of birth injury malpractice

Caring for an infant, child or adult with these symptoms can impose a huge burden on a family.  With 50 years of experience, Balkin & Eisbrouch’s legal team can offer needed support and assistance to a family whose infant suffers from cerebral palsy.  Working closely with medical and legal experts, we can file a cerebral palsy lawsuit and obtain compensation for families affected by medical negligence.

If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe that negligence may have been the cause, please contact the birth injury attorneys at Balkin & Eisbrouch to discuss your legal options.

  1. Washington Times, “Lawyers:  $9M Settlement for Boy’s Cerebral Palsy,” (January 29, 2014) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/29/lawyers-9m-settlement-for-boys-cerebral-palsy/ 

  2. United Cerebral Palsy, “Cerebral Palsy Fact Sheet,” http://ucp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/cp-fact-sheet.pdf