On December 1, 1995, a newborn was delivered at a Michigan hospital weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces (yes, you read that correctly). The delivering doctors failed to recognize that the baby was so large that a cesarean section delivery would be necessary. Instead, the doctors used Pitocin, which causes the uterus to contract in order to assist in progressing a vaginal delivery. The powerful contractions forced the huge baby through the birth canal, causing the baby’s clavicle to fracture and the baby to suffer a brain hemorrhage. The baby had seizures and was not breathing when delivered, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen and bleeding in the brain).
The resulting medical malpractice claim alleged that the hospital and the doctors involved with the delivery were negligent by failing to recommend and provide delivery by cesarean section instead of a vaginal delivery, by failing to prevent the baby from suffering the trauma during the vagina delivery, by failing to prevent the baby from suffering a fractured clavicle during birth, by failing to prevent the baby from suffering central nervous system injuries including cerebral palsy and permanent brain injuries, and by failing to provide competent and appropriate medical care involving the delivery. The medical malpractice suit also claimed that the hospital failed to provide proper prenatal care including estimating fetal weight.
The hospital and doctors’ defense blamed the baby’s problems on a genetic condition.
The Michigan jury who heard the medical malpractice case brought on behalf of the severely and permanently injured child who will need constant, around-the-clock care for the rest of her life (the parents were not parties to the medical malpractice lawsuit — a conservator brought the malpractice claims on behalf of the child) determined that the hospital and doctors were negligent and that their negligence caused the child’s injuries. The jury awarded substantial compensatory damages to the child to pay for her future needs.
Had a medical malpractice case not been brought on behalf of the injured child to cover the costs of her life-long medical needs, the exorbitant costs of the necessary future medical and daily care probably would have been paid by federal or state resources (that is, our tax dollars). Instead, because our society values and establishes personal responsibility for those who negligently injure others, the medical malpractice insurance companies who charged and received insurance premiums for medical malpractice insurance coverage for the hospital and the doctors will be responsible to pay the damages awarded by the impartial jury (however, the defendants have indicated that they intend to appeal the jury’s decision).
Tort reformers who promote caps (limits) on the amounts that negligent hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers would have to pay when they provide substandard (or worse) medical care want to shift the burden of paying for necessary care for the innocent victims of medical malpractice from the responsible wrongdoers to the already overburdened taxpayers. Does this seem fair or right to you?
When medical malpractice mistakes cause innocent patients to become unfortunate victims burdened by debilitating injuries and the substantial loss of their enjoyment of life through no fault of their own, it is time to investigate whether a medical malpractice claim is appropriate.
Visit our website or call us on our toll free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to help you with your medical malpractice claim.
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