On April 24, 2015, after a three-week trial, a Florida medical malpractice jury in Charlotte County awarded the plaintiff $23 million for the severe and permanent brain injury suffered by her newborn baby girl, who was born extremely premature. The child suffered cerebral palsy as a result of her birth injury. The jury held the defendant physician (obstetrician) 70% responsible for the baby’s injuries; the defendant hospital was found to be 30% responsible.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
In August 2010, the then 24-year-old plaintiff was 24 weeks pregnant with her first baby when she was diagnosed by her obstetrician with preeclampsia, based on protein in her urine and high blood pressure. The obstetrician referred the plaintiff to a local hospital that was not equipped to deliver babies at less than 33 weeks. The hospital determined that the plaintiff was suffering from severe preeclampsia and that her fetus was small for her gestational age. It was determined that the fetus was at risk for brain injury due to limited blood flow to the fetus.
Despite the serious risk of injury to the fetus, and the defendant hospital’s inability to safely deliver such an extremely premature baby, the defendant hospital failed to transfer the plaintiff to a more appropriate and better equipped hospital and it also failed to provide the plaintiff with corticosteroids to prevent brain injury to the baby due to the high-risk of premature delivery.
When the plaintiff was 26 weeks pregnant, her blood pressure reading was extremely high, she had signs of multi-organ injury, and her fetus had an abnormal heart rate during a hospital visit. An emergency Cesarean section delivery was performed but the baby was born with severe cystic white matter brain injury and severe cerebral palsy, according to the plaintiff’s Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. The child requires skilled nursing care on a full-time basis as a result of the injuries she sustained at birth.
The Florida medical malpractice jury reportedly found that the defendants failed to have in place a system to identify high-risk patients and to transfer such patients to a higher level of care hospital under the circumstances.
The defendant obstetrician and defendant hospital have filed motions for a new trial.
The birth of a baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, full of hope and dreams for the newborn. The vast majority of births in the United States do not involve birth injuries and do not result in birth injury medical malpractice claims. Where the risk of a life-long serious injury to the baby and/or its mother is known and is significant, it is imperative that the proper level of care be available for the birth and that the medical providers participating in the labor and delivery be well-qualified and experienced in problems or issues that may arise during labor and delivery, which must be resolved appropriately and timely. Otherwise, the most joyous time in someone’s life may become the most painful time in their life, which pain may continue for the lifetime of the injured child.
If you or a loved one suffered a birth injury in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Florida medical malpractice lawyer, or a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
Visit our website to complete and submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to find birth injury lawyers in Florida or birth injury lawyers in your state who may assist you.
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