Giving birth to a child in a hospital setting is usually a happy occasion. Relatives and friends visit to share the joy of a new baby’s arrival into the world. For Kimberly VanSlembrouck, however, things did not turn out this way. Her daughter, Markell, was born in a Michigan hospital with severe birth injuries due to the doctor’s negligence. Kimberly was in labor for 40 hours, and though the doctor should have performed a cesarean section, he did not. Instead, the doctor forced Kimberly’s baby through her birth canal. Markell was born with a fractured clavicle, hemorrhaging and severe brain damage. When questioned, the doctor insisted genetics were responsible for Markell’s physical condition. A jury, however, disagreed with the doctor. The Detroit News reports that in a lawsuit filed against the doctor and the hospital, a jury awarded Kimberly VanSlembrouck $144 million.
Inattentiveness to Distress Signals
Sometimes the labor-inducing drug Pitocin is administered to pregnant women. Pitocin is often used in conjunction with an epidural anesthesia to counteract the slowdown of labor caused by the anesthesia. Although Pitocin is usually safe and effective with careful monitoring, its most common side effect is an interrupted oxygen supply to the baby.
In an unrelated Illinois case, a mother was given Pitocin to induce labor. The hospital staff failed to respond to the baby’s distress due to lack of oxygen, and this inaction caused a brain injury. The mother filed a medical negligence lawsuit against the hospital. NBC News reports that the family and hospital reached a settlement agreement of $6.5 million.
In a similar Canadian case, the Vancouver Sun reports on the parents of a baby who suffered severe brain injury in an Alberta hospital. The parents filed a lawsuit against the hospital, doctors and several of the nurses. After 40 hours of labor, Rebecka May gave birth to a baby boy whose umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. The baby had a serious brain injury and later died. The nurses failed to inform the physician of the baby’s distress, and the physician failed to perform a cesarean section even though the emergency surgery was needed to save the baby from injury.
Victims of Medical Malpractice: A Course of Action
Doctors and hospitals are trusted to take the utmost care with babies born each day. When medical professionals abuse that trust by causing harm to babies and their families, they should be held accountable. The courts are supporting patients wronged by doctors and the hospitals at which they practice.
Doctors who bear the responsibility of an injury should compensate parents who must, in turn, pay for special care for their child. The courts are deciding in favor of parents who have experienced this horror. A good attorney can build a strong case so the parents are awarded the compensation needed to take care of their injured child. Families victimized by medical malpractice negligence involving birth injury should act before the statute of limitations runs out. These limitations range from six months to four years. There is little time to waste before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation today.