cerebral palsy medical malpractice case settled for 43 million

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain of a child. It can occur during pregnancy or possibly up to the first three years of life. People who suffer from this condition often have limits in movement and posture that curtail their normal activities. Other effects include limits in sensation, limits in sight perception, difficulties with communication, and in some cases limits in cognition.

In a medical malpractice context, cerebral palsy cases typically result from negligence on the part of health care providers during childbirth. Recently, a family whose youngest member suffers from cerebral palsy was able to reach a mediated settlement with the hospital where their baby was born. The hospital agreed to pay damages of $4.3 million.

In 2008 the mother was admitted to the hospital to deliver her child. As part of her treatment, she was given a drug called Pitocin. The drug is frequently used to induce and augment labor.

The labor went on for many hours, from evening into morning. The nurses attending the mother administered additional Pitocin.

The family’s lawsuit alleged that the nurses failed to recognize hyperstimulation of the mother’s uterus caused by the Pitocin, and that the nurses failed to recognize that the child was displaying signs of intolerance to labor.

Eventually, a monitor showed that the baby had an extremely low heart rate. At that point, and emergency Caesarian section was performed, but the baby was near death and a neonatal team had to resuscitate her.

The baby survived, but suffered permanent brain damage. She has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Experts for the family were prepared to testify that the baby suffered profound brain injuries in the twenty minutes before she was delivered.

The settlement is intended to pay for the girl’s care, which she is expected to need as long as she lives. Pennsylvania cerebral palsy attorneys are aware of the seriousness of birth injury cases and the potential need for lifelong care for children who suffer from these injuries. In many cases, lawsuits are the only means a family has to ensure that this lifelong care will be available.

Source: CantonRep “Mercy Medical Center to pay $4.3 million in negligence suit” 5/18/2011

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