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After birth injury settlement, negligent doctor went unpunished

Any North Carolina family that has worked through the difficult consequences of a medical error knows how frustrating the process can be. Not only are there emotional concerns to deal with, but families want probably want to feel as though some sort corrective action has been taken. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.

This became apparent for a mother and her daughter, who are still feeling the impacts of birth-related trauma that occurred over 10 years ago. While going into labor, it was noted that the woman's unborn daughter was experiencing severe cardiac stress. Despite these signs, the attending doctor left to perform another delivery and didn't complete an emergency cesarean section until almost two hours later.

By failing to promptly address the baby's distress, the baby was deprived of oxygen and developed cerebral palsy and other birth-related injuries as a result. The girl's family filed a birth injury claim and a jury awarded them $4.6 million, but the negligent doctor was not unpunished and was allowed to practice medicine for almost three more years.

One of the first steps an individual or family might take after such an accident is to pursue compensation with a medical malpractice claim. If there is evidence to suggest negligence on the part of the hospital, doctor or other medical staff, then the court may order the responsible parties to pay an award or the defendants may wish to settle out of court. Even if the claims against individual medical practitioners are upheld in court, they may not face disciplinary action

According to reports, North Carolina ranks 16th among the 50 states for the rate at which medical boards take disciplinary action against doctors. While our state isn't last in this respect, it still must be frustrating for families affected by malpractice to see the negligent medical professionals still practicing and putting other patients at risk.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "Some doctors not disciplined, even following large malpractice settlements," David Wahlberg, Jan. 28, 2013

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