Late last month a 26-year-old woman and the State of Connecticut reached a medical malpractice settlement with regard to the alleged medical negligence that occurred during the labor and delivery of the plaintiff’s child in a Connecticut-operated hospital that led to the baby suffering a stroke. The issue was not whether there was medical negligence but rather whether the baby suffered his injury due to the medical negligence that occurred in the hospital.
The pregnant plaintiff had diabetes that required her to be hospitalized several times during her pregnancy due to dehydration and nausea. Her diabetes also made the plaintiff’s pregnancy a high-risk pregnancy. Nonetheless, the fetus’ development was normal throughout the pregnancy.
During the night of November 19, 2010 and into the early morning hours of November 20, 2010, the plaintiff went into labor and was hospitalized. Per protocol, fetal heart monitoring began. Shortly after 1:00 a.m., the fetal heart monitor showed that the baby was in distress due to placental insufficiency, which occurs when there is inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus from the mother’s bloodstream. In light of such, the standard of care required that the baby be delivered between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.
Nonetheless, the fetal distress was allowed to continue until approximately 6:30 a.m., when the plaintiff’s OB was called and told about her patient’s condition. The OB advised the hospital to prepare the plaintiff for an emergency Cesarean section; however, the baby was not delivered until about 8:30 a.m. and was limp at birth. An MRI several days later showed that the baby had suffered a stroke.
The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the baby suffered his stroke after the time period when he should have been delivered. The defense argued that the baby suffered his stroke in utero, and perhaps due to complications from his mother’s diabetes (such as during the times when his mother suffered from dehydration and nausea for which she was hospitalized).
The child suffers from significant weakness in his right arm and right leg due to his stroke, for which he receives daily occupational therapy, speech therapy three times per week, and physical therapy once per week. However, there was much difficulty in establishing the extent of the damages suffered by the child because neurocognitive testing cannot be done on a child who is less than five years old. Therefore, it was difficult to assess the extent of the cognitive problems the child may have suffered.
The spokeswoman for the defendants stated after the settlement was reached, “These cases are complex and difficult for all parties. We are pleased that we’ve reached a conclusion with which all sides are comfortable, and which avoids the stress and expense that further court proceedings could have caused for the family, our health care providers, and others involved.” The Connecticut medical malpractice trial had been scheduled to begin on April 28, 2015.
If your family suffered a birth injury in Connecticut or in another U.S. state that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in Connecticut or in your state who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury malpractice case, if appropriate.
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