child with cerebral palsy from doctor negligence wins settlement

Mason W. was born on February 26, 2005, at Hess Memorial Hospital in Mauston, Alaska. His mother had a normal pregnancy, and everything was expected to go well. It did not.

Mason was injured at birth due to the negligence of his delivery team. He now has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which means he has a lesion on the nerve that controls the muscles in his arms and legs, and probably also his mouth, tongue and windpipe.

Basically,┬áMason won’t be able to control those muscles, which will be “spastic,” or permanently fixed and tight. He will probably never walk or be able to perform tasks requiring fine motor skills, such as drawing. Although he may be a perfectly intelligent child, he may have trouble speaking clearly, and he may have trouble eating, swallowing and even breathing.

Cerebral palsy is defined as a group of disorders involving brain and nervous system functions. It is not always caused by birth injury, but when it is, the reason is often neonatal asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation during the birthing process, which can be the result of obstetric negligence. The oxygen deprivation may cause a brain injury or neuron lesions that results in catastrophic harm to the baby — and lifelong disability.

Judge Approves $6 Million Settlement for Little Boy’s Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy

Mason’s parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in January 2006 against the obstetrician who delivered Mason, Hess Memorial Hospital, and the Mile Bluff Clinic where Mason’s mother received her prenatal care. The couple claimed that the devastating birth injury that caused Mason’s severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy was the result of OB/GYN malpractice and hospital negligence.

As the lawsuit moved forward, the case file grew into a foot-high pile of medical reports, depositions and expert witness testimony by doctors from Yale University, the University of Chicago and other institutions. Both Mason’s parents and the defendants had compiled expert testimony that supported their positions. The trial was scheduled for this month.

A pre-trial settlement was finally reached this week. Although none of the defendants admitted any wrongdoing, they agreed to pay $6 million to Mason and his family. More than $4 million of that will be put into a trust to pay for Mason’s care for the rest of his life.

“[Mason] is totally dependent on others for all aspects of daily living,” says the settlement document, “and will be for his entire life.”

Source: Juneau County Star-Times, “Malpractice case settled for $6 million,” Peter Rebhahn, November 17, 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *