The United States Supreme Court finally made its opinion known in a case we've previously discussed on this blog. The justices heard the case of a North Carolina family contesting the state's claim to one-third of their medical malpractice settlement received as the result of their daughter's brain injury sustained during her birth 13 years ago.
Infants are susceptible to a wide variety of complications during the birthing process, particularly if medical professionals don't exercise enough caution. As many North Carolina families have learned, cerebral palsy is a birth injury that is all too often the result of a medical mistake.
In the weeks and months after bringing a child into the world, new parents usually focus their attention on the health of the newborn. Yet, as one woman learned, a careless mistake made during delivery forced her to spend weeks in the hospital recuperating from an infection. The woman's doctor left behind a surgical sponge while performing a cesarean section, which is an alarmingly common problem.
In 1999, an Institute of Medicine report declared that approximately 98,000 Americans die every year due to doctor errors. The report is viewed as a landmark event, and enormous effort has been undertaken every year since to reduce the effect that medical errors have on the population. According to a more recent study, however, those efforts have not produced significant results.