Nearly one out of one thousand babies born each year in the United States will be the victim of a traumatic brain injury. Birth injury malpractice can occur when a healthcare professional is negligent in their duty of care provided to the patient. Lawsuits can be filed against them for causing harm to a patient or failing to act in a reasonable manner.
Real Life Cases Involving Birth Injuries
- Jacqueline Lugo 1998—A Wisconsin mother went to the hospital (formerly the Sinai-Samaritan in Milwaukee) to delivery her baby daughter. She was a high-risk patient due to gestational diabetes and her prior history included delivering large babies. A family practice doctor and midwives oversaw the care she received. Although she was close to going into labor, her caregivers left her unattended for over 12 hours. During the birth, the baby got stuck in the birth canal for over 20 minutes. The lack of oxygen resulted in the baby suffering sever brain damage. Her care was funded through a federal program for the indigent. She sued the federal government and eventually settled the case for $18.2 million.
- Tiffany Busone 2009—This case began when Tiffany’s mother filed a lawsuit on her daughter’s behalf back in 1984. Nearly a quarter century later, the case was settled in November 2009 with an award of $43.5 million from a New York jury. The young woman has been confined to a wheelchair due to permanent brain damage suffered at birth when she was deprived of oxygen for up to 15 minutes. As a result, she suffers from cerebral palsy and lacks certain motor skills due to not being properly resuscitated.
- Heather Grow 2008—Heather’s daughter Cassie was born in 1997 and sustained permanent birth injuries after the baby got stuck in the birth canal. The baby was finally delivered by Cesarean section after a 13-hour labor. Dr. Lisa Yang and Group Health Associates were found negligent and the Ohio jury awarded the plaintiff over $22 million in damages. Cassie suffers from mild retardation and spastic quadriplegia resulting in difficulties using her hands. In addition, she cannot interpret visual images and requires the use of a walker.
- Margarita Chess 2010—On September 21, 2003, Margarita Chess who was nearly 26 weeks pregnant arrived at the Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach after complaining of labor pain and contractions. Dr. John Milton, the emergency room doctor informs her that she must deliver the baby at another hospital because they are unable to care for a premature infant. Milton contacts obstetrician Dr. Thomas Stavoy at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Stavoy refuses to accept the patient and recommends that Chess be sent to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, more than an hour away. Just fifteen minutes into the ambulance ride, Margarita’s water breaks and she gives birth to baby son Addison. He was born breech and had trouble breathing resulting in a lack of oxygen and suffers from cerebral palsy. Both the doctors and hospitals settled the case for $1.4 million.
- Eva Liberato 2008—A Chicago mother delivered baby Angel, who sustained serious brain damage at birth due to deprivation of oxygen. The doctors administered drugs to induce contractions and attempted to deliver the baby boy using a vacuum retractor. After this failed attempt, they proceeded to deliver the child with forceps, which got stuck in the uterine wall of the mother. Eva Liberato accepted a $5.5 million dollar settlement for her son who is unable to walk, talk or feed himself, requiring lifelong care.
Why You Need a Malpractice Attorney
Malpractice suits rarely go to trial and most cases are settled out of court. But the downside is that many victims fail to bring a lawsuit within the timeframe allowed. This is known as the statute of limitations, which can range from one to six years, depending upon the jurisdiction where the injury occurred. It is extremely important that you take legal action as soon as possible. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you have no legal recourse against those responsible. Hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be the difference between obtaining justice and letting the offenders go scot-free.