homeless woman gets 75m for birth injury suit

Every baby born in a Pennsylvania hospital deserves a chance at a full, healthy life — even if his or her mother is homeless. One West Coast mother who alleged that she received substandard medical care because of her housing situation will now receive a $7.5 million settlement in her birth injury claim. The woman’s child was reportedly injured by negligent treatment received at a county medical center.

The case alleged that the woman was inappropriately discharged from a labor and delivery unit at the county facility. She was discharged without having seen an obstetrician, even though she was at the hospital for 14 hours. Less than 12 hours later, the woman returned to the hospital in critical condition after suffering a ruptured uterus. Her baby, now 18 months old, was delivered through emergency cesarean section.

Sadly, the woman’s child suffers from serious brain damage because he was deprived of oxygen before he was born. The child’s disabilities are so severe that he cannot live at home. His mother lives in a rent-subsidized apartment and is only able to make the trip to visit him a few times a week. The financial settlement from the hospital will allow the woman to purchase a home, allowing her child to stay with family. The woman has older children, also: a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old. In addition, the money will go into an annuity to pay for the child’s ongoing lifetime medical care.

Officials say this is the largest medical malpractice settlement in the area in approximately eight years.

The mother in this case should not have been treated differently just because she happened to be homeless. The hospital realized its error and chose to settle with the woman, foregoing the need for a formal civil trial. Parents deserve the right to seek financial compensation for their children’s birth injuries, which can carry devastating monetary and personal consequences.

Source: www.latimes.com, “L.A. County to pay $7.5 million in childbirth malpractice case” Abby Sewell, Nov. 06, 2013

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