Whenever a child is born with injuries, the question is raised as to whether the baby's doctor is responsible for those injuries. One family is wondering this exact question regarding their now three-year-old daughter.
The little girl was born in April of 2009. She suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of severe brain damage that the parents claim occurred during her birth. They claim that the baby's heart rate dropped significantly during her birth, and that the doctor should have expedited the delivery in order to guard against permanent brain damage.
They say that though the doctor had many options to help speed the delivery of the baby, he never even discussed these options with them, and simply let the baby be delivered without any assistance. Unfortunately, the baby was born not breathing and needed to be resuscitated after birth.
The doctor, on the other hand, has denied any wrongdoing. He claims that his care was standard and appropriate and says that he does not believe it was necessary to expedite the birth. He explains that if he thought it was necessary, he would have discussed it with the parents and decided whether to speed the delivery or not.
The parents have brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital for their role in the girl's injury. Most recently, the couple reached a settlement agreement with the hospital. That settlement amount has not been disclosed pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Yet the family is still pursuing a case against the doctor, which currently in the midst of a jury trial in which they are seeking $15 to $20 million in damages. Much of the money they seek will likely be used to pay for the girl's medical care, which could cost as much as $50 million over the course of her lifetime.
Though this case is not happening in North Carolina, parents who suspect that their child has suffered from an injury during birth may want to consider whether pursuing a medical malpractice claim is appropriate.
Source: The San Luis-Obispo Tribune, "Family seeks millions in malpractice lawsuit," Nick Wilson, April 4, 2012