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Negligent prenatal care led to premature birth, brain injury

After years of dealing with the effects of ill-advised medical treatment, the parents of twins, who are both teenagers now, may finally be able to feel more at peace. The night that her daughters were born, the mother was given Benadryl and sent home. Unfortunately, the doctors failed to recognize that she was going into labor and required immediate medical attention.

The woman went into labor three months early, which is especially concerning for someone carrying multiple children. Though one of the babies was born small, but healthy, the other sustained a brain injury as a result of the delayed birth. This birth injury caused the girl to become diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The girls' father commented that they still think about being sent home that night 17 years ago. He noted that the girl's mother feels somehow responsible for what happened. She should not have to feel responsible for what was a bad decision made by medical professionals she trusted.

As a result of the negligent care, the family filed a law suit against the hospital and two doctors. According to the legal claim, the doctors should have recognized that the woman was dealing with contractions and was definitely in early labor.

The family was ultimately successful with their efforts and was awarded over $100 million for pain, suffering, medical expenses and future lost wages, according to their representative. Additionally, the hospital went into bankruptcy a few years ago, so it's unclear how that will affect the payout.

In response to this court decision, a spokesperson for the hospital still refused to take responsibility for the medical negligence. As such, they plan to appeal the decision.

Though both parents certainly feel blessed to have their children with them today, they understand that their daughter has suffered because of the birth injury. According to the father, his daughter is often lonely and feels isolated from her peers in school.

The impacts of a medical mistake go well beyond health concerns. Emotional and financial damages that result can be felt for many years beyond the actual incident. As this case shows, there are legal methods available to hold medical providers responsible for administering the highest level of care to all patients.

Source: The New York Post, "Family of SI cerebral palsy teen wins $100M lawsuit against birth hospital," Josh Saul, Aug. 25, 2012

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