How’d This Delivery Room Team Miss Fetal Distress?

birth injury

The family of a five-year-old boy who was born with cerebral palsy after hospital personnel completely whiffed on identifying signs of fetal distress has been awarded $28.7 million in a birth injury case.

The Case at a Glance

When the child was born at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Cleveland, the delivery room equipment included a fully operational fetal heart monitor. Even with the equipment, signs of the child’s fetal distress were completely missed by the delivery team.

Because of their inaction, the child experienced a lack of oxygen – resulting in cerebral palsy as well as developmental delays.

The child will require assistance with practically every aspect of personal care for the rest of his life, including help with bathing, dressing and getting around.

“It’s likely that he’ll require 24/7 caregiver support because of his limited ability to communicate and difficulty walking. He’ll never control his arms and legs normally,” said the family’s attorney.

How The Award Was Determined By The Jury

In making their decision about how much to award to the family, the jury awarded:

  • $24.9 million for the child’s future care;
  • $2.9 million for his lost earning capacity; and
  • $500,000 to each parent for noneconomic losses.

What Is Fetal Distress?

Typically occurring in pregnancies that last too long or when there are complications, fetal distress describes an infant not receiving enough oxygen. Usually, delivery room personnel will pick up on signs of fetal distress by monitoring the infant’s heart rate pattern throughout the labor.

If signs of fetal distress are caught, they can normally be corrected in a host of ways, including:

  • Increasing amount of intravenous fluids to the mother;
  • Giving the mother oxygen; or
  • Having the mother turn on one side.

If those steps do not correct the problem, the infant is delivered as quickly as possible by forceps or cesarean section.

Signs of Fetal Distress
There are a host of signs that can tip you off that your child may be experiencing fetal distress, including:

  • Decreased movement of the fetus in the womb;
  • Vaginal bleeding experienced by the mother;
  • Increased cramping felt by the mother; and
  • High blood pressure in the mother.

If Your Child Experienced a Birth Injury, The Fitzgerald Law Firm Can Help You Recoup Losses

The risk of fetal distress should always be respected by the delivery room team. Failure on their part to follow established protocols meant to protect the health of the infant and mother is medical malpractice.

If you feel that your child experienced a birth injury, call The Fitzgerald Law Firm to discuss your options.

The first consultation is always free, so call us 800-323-9900.