In August 2008, a woman visited the hospital because of pregnancy complications. An obstetrician performed an ultrasound and – much to the mother’s horror – concluded the baby was dead. About an hour later, a different hospital staff member conducted a follow-up ultrasound and discovered that the infant had a heartbeat.
The hospital staff conducted an emergency cesarean section, but the infant had already suffered brain damage from hypoxia. Cerebral hypoxia – or a lack of oxygen to the brain – caused the baby boy to suffer cerebral palsy. According to the mother’s lawsuit against the hospital, the misread ultrasound caused the child to be unnecessarily deprived of oxygen for 81 minutes.
Last week, a jury agreed with the boy’s mother and awarded her $78.5 million in damages. The jury award includes compensation for the boy’s medical costs, lost earnings and pain and suffering. The sum also factored in money damages for the mother’s emotional distress.
Among other things, the jury concluded that the boy’s cerebral palsy resulted from the hospital’s failure to maintain sufficient ultrasound equipment and staffed ultrasound technicians.
This sad story shows the importance of precise fetal monitoring. When pregnancy complications occur, skilled doctors and technicians can properly leverage technology to mitigate or prevent harm to the infant. When this technology is used incorrectly, the consequences can be devastating.
If your child has suffered a birth injury from cerebral hypoxia, contact a skilled Ohio birth injury attorney to explore your legal options.
Source: Philly.com, “Philadelphia Jury Awards $78.5M In Medical Malpractice Case,” Chris Mondics, May 6, 2012