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Parents awarded $28 million in federal birth injury case

A baby's birth should be a time of celebration, but in some tragic cases, the very act of birth causes serious injury to the newborn. Causes for birth injuries range from environmental situations to medical errors. In a court decision issued on Friday, Dec. 20, a judge ordered the federal government to make good on a settlement totaling over $28 million in a medical-related birth injury case.

The case centered on a newborn who was born with brain damage due to being deprived of oxygen for a period of time. The government argued that the deprivation occurred prior to the mother arriving at the hospital. The lawsuit claimed that the deprivation occurred in a time period that covered the last 40 minutes of the birthing process and the 10 minutes immediately after the baby was born.

According to the law suit, which sites three board-certified obstetricians, doctors did not order a necessary C-section in time to promote a healthy birth. The family also sued two nurses and the state hospital where the birth occurred. Those suits were previously settled.

The $28 million award ordered by the judge includes over $15 million for the future care of the baby. It also includes funds for lost earnings, loss of normal life, past medical expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering and risk for future harm. According to reports, the award is in keeping with payments in similar cases.

Facing a future of long-term care for an injured baby can be daunting. Grief and emotions are paramount in such a situation. Understanding options for legal and financial recourse is essential to improving what may prove to be a challenging life for all involved.

Source:  Courthouse News Service, "$28 Million Medical Judgment Against USA" Joe Harris, Dec. 23, 2013

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