jury doctor and hospital responsible for pa boys birth injuries

Expectant parents do their best to plan for their children’s happiness, but too often the efforts of soon-to-be mothers and fathers are undermined by grievous errors made by medical professionals. Doctors may even try to convince parents that their child’s birth injuries were unavoidable, but parents faced with this situation would be wise to seek answers elsewhere.

With that in mind, let’s consider a recently settled lawsuit out of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. A little boy who is now 4 years old lives with multiple medical problems, including cerebral palsy, and according to a lawsuit brought by his parents, medical negligence led to the child’s injuries.

In their suit, the parents claimed that a doctor at St. Luke’s University Hospital ignored indications that the little boy wasn’t receiving enough oxygen during his birth. The parents say these signs should have been recognized and that the baby should have been delivered by Caesarean section.

The parents’ lawsuit claimed that because the infant became stuck during the birth, he lost even more oxygen, and the mother suffered hemorrhaging and had to undergo emergency surgery.

A jury recently decided that the parents should be awarded $55 million. An attorney for the parents said this money will go toward the child’s long-term care. However, the amount the parents will ultimately receive is likely to be less than that figure, given that the plaintiffs and the defendants reached an agreement prior to the jury’s verdict. The exact amount agreed upon remains confidential.

The jury found that the attending doctor and St. Luke’s University Hospital were each 50 percent responsible for the child’s injuries.

Pennsylvania parents should keep in mind that hospitals, insurance companies and doctors spend significant resources to limit liability and reduce payouts to victims of medical malpractice. Still, there are legal avenues for achieving justice and providing much-needed medical care after a preventable birth injury.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live, “Jury awards family $55 million for boy’s injuries at birth at St. Luke’s University Hospital,” Precious Petty, Dec. 24, 2013

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