A horrifying case involving a traumatic birth injury and possible evidence tampering has resulted in a couple being awarded $11.5 million.
Here’s What Happened
During the baby’s delivery, breathing problems were either ignored or at the very least unattended. As the baby’s health continued to deteriorate, delivery room medical personnel resorted to using forceps.
Unfortunately, the device was improperly used, causing a severe brain injury that left the child disabled for life.
Was Evidence Tampered With?
Over the course of the two-week trial, an attorney representing the hospital argued – unsuccessfully – that the baby’s condition was caused naturally.
“We strongly maintain that the medical evidence supported that (the child) suffered a stroke unrelated to his labor or delivery,” the attorney said after the jury reached their decision in favor of the child and his parents.
The attorney representing the family, however, provided evidence that the forceps had been used incorrectly and that the baby’s electronic patient record was found to have been tampered with.
The Dangers Posed by Improper Use of Forceps During Delivery
There are a host of reasons for forceps to be used during the delivery of a child, including:
- Sudden and major bleeding by the mother (hemorrhage)
- Abnormal heart rate or pattern from the baby
- Prolonged second stage of labor
- Mother experiencing illness or condition that would make pushing during labor difficult
Also, there are certain conditions that must be met before the attending physician reaches for the forceps, including the:
- Cervix being fully dilated
- Baby’s position being confirmed
- Mother’s bladder must be empty
- Baby’s head being fully engaged
If the forceps are not used the right way, risks to the child include:
- Bleeding within the skull
- Skull fracture
- Brain injury and permanent damage
- Facial injuries resulting from the pressure used
- Weakness in the facial muscles (facial palsy)
With procedures well known for proper use, there’s practically no excuse for them being used the wrong way – especially during a time when a child’s body is so vulnerable as it is during delivery. The possibility that the child’s medical records were tampered with is a huge problem in and of itself.
Regardless, the jury definitely made the right call in making sure the child and his family will have the monetary resources to provide the proper care he will forever need.
If your child experienced a birth injury, we’d like to talk with you about how you can secure the resources you need.
Call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm; our number is (800) 323-9900, and there’s never a charge for the first meeting.