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Family wins battle with physician over birth injury

For those who wish to start a family, the birth of a child is a joyous occasion. Many pregnancies end with a bundle of joy. Others may experience complications during the delivery process that can make the journey to becoming a family more difficult.

One family out of Pennsylvania has found themselves in the midst of this more difficult path. Instead of just focusing on the path ahead, they have taken a look back and are holding those responsible for the complications accountable. This action has worked in their favor and will help to ease their journey.

What happened in this case? The family in this case alleges that the medical professional in charge of aiding their labor and delivery process failed to meet his obligations as a physician.

More specifically, the suit alleges that the combination of the use of Pitocin and a failure to properly monitor the pregnancy resulted in serious birth injuries to the infant.

Pitocin is a drug commonly used to encourage the progression of the labor process. The couple has two contentions about the use of this drug:

  • Unneeded. The first contention is that the use of the drug was not needed. The woman states that the record of her labor and delivery process shows that she was progressing naturally. As a result, the drug was not needed.
  • Inappropriate. The couple also contends that even if the drug was needed the amount administered was inappropriately high.

After given this drug the baby's heart rate began to slow. The couple argues that there were many instances where medical intervention was warranted. One example provided was when the heart rate dropped to 60 beats per minute.

Instead of intervening at this point, the physician allegedly waited an additional ten minutes. At this point, the infant's head was visible. Instead of using additional measures such as a vacuum or forceps to speed up the delivery process the delivering physician allegedly allowed an additional ten minutes to pass.

The lack of proper oxygen during this time period, according to the suit, resulted in the development of spastic tetraparesis cerebral palsy among other birth injuries. This condition will require 24-hour care and modifications to the family home to accommodate needed medical equipment and to make the home wheel chair accessible.

What did the court decide? The jury held in favor of the family, ultimately awarding $14.48 million in damages.

This award provides an example of the need for those who are the victims of birth injuries to move forward with a suit holding those who caused these injuries accountable for their actions. Not only does the suit hold guilty parties accountable, but it can also result in monetary awards to help cover the costs associated with additional treatment, care and required changes to the victim's home to accommodate the injuries, thus easing some of the journey ahead for this family.

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