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Los Angeles settles huge medical malpractice suit

Mothers in North Carolina will be interested to hear about a medical malpractice suit in Los Angeles regarding a woman who was 39 weeks pregnant and living in a homeless shelter. She went to the emergency room with complaints of severe pain in her abdomen. The resident physician discharged her, but she returned to the hospital about 12 hours later and had to undergo an emergency cesarean section.

The attorney for the case said that the hospital wanted to get rid of her and didn't acknowledge that she was in serious pain. The woman was in the labor and delivery unit the first time she went to the hospital, but she was not seen by any of the three doctors on shift there at the time. The end result of this alleged malpractice was the child deprived of oxygen due to the mother's ruptured uterus; brain damage resulted.

The case settled for $7.5 million and includes $300,000 for the infant's medical care. As a result of the suit, the hospital will be reported to the state medical board for investigation. The woman will now be able to buy a house and move the toddler out of the care home in which he lives. She will be able to improve his life and move him into a permanent home.

Medical malpractice during delivery can permanently and irrevocably alter the life of a child. If the infant's supply of oxygen is cut off during the birthing process, this can cause permanent brain damage. Obstetricians should carefully monitor the fetus for distress so they can intervene at appropriate times. Failure to do so may be malpractice.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Los Angeles County Settles $7.5M Medical Malpractice Suit", November 07, 2013

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