A complete breakdown in communication between delivery room nurses and a doctor resulted in a child developing a host of birth injuries and the hospital suing the federal government to cover at least half of an $8 million settlement.
In this issue, we’ll break it all down.
The Case at a Glance
While the mother was in her 37th week of pregnancy, she was sent to Temple University Hospital for evaluation of decreased movement of her child.
Even though nurses told the on-call doctor about fetal test results that indicated serious problems with the child, he waited three hours before finally seeing the mother. By that time, serious damage had already been done to the child, and the doctor performed what had become an urgent cesarean delivery.
The baby was eventually delivered, but with a host of severe birth injuries, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Seizure disorder
- Visual impairment
- Microcephaly (a smaller head than normal)
Who Is Responsible?
The parents filed suit against Temple University Hospital, which settled the case for $8 million – the estimated total for lifetime care of the child.
Temple in turn sued the federal government over the doctor’s actions because he was actually employed by a federally-funded health center, which had a contract with Temple when the incident occurred.
The U.S. District Judge who heard the case did indeed find that the federal government was partly responsible because of the doctor’s employment status.
In his ruling, the judge said, “This is a shared symbiotic relationship requiring communication and not direction. The doctor is required to do more than show up at delivery tables when directed by nurses, and the nurses must do more than rely on a doctor’s attention.”
The Bottom Line
Cases like this are inexcusable. Doctors and nurses alike are trained professionals who should not need to be told how to practice medicine. Sadly, cases like this are another grim reminder that many medical malpractice incidents are the result of pure negligence on the part of doctors, hospital staffs and organizations.
Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm If You Feel You’ve Experienced Medical Malpractice
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm.
Our number is 800-323-9900, and the first consultation is always free.