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Medical center pays $9 million to settle birth injury claim

Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that occurs before, during or immediately after birth. The disease sometimes results when there has been a birth injury caused by medical malpractice. If the delivery procedure in a Louisiana hospital or elsewhere is not properly monitored and if recognizable dangers are ignored, a deprivation of oxygen to the brain can occur during childbirth.

The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause mild to severe brain damage, depending on the duration of the problem. In a medical malpractice case where cerebral palsy is related to oxygen deprivation to the baby's brain, the determinative issue will be whether the lack of oxygen was caused by medical negligence or whether it was unavoidable under the circumstances. Another related question will be whether the oxygen problem caused the baby's injuries.

Those issues were recently decided in favor of the plaintiff child in a medical malpractice case against an Army Medical Center where a pregnant woman gave birth to a son with cerebral palsy marked by very severe brain damage. The lawsuit claimed that the pregnant mother went to the military hospital on Sept 7, 2010, where an inexperienced resident examined her and failed to see that she had a ruptured uterus. The hospital had been treating her and was aware of her risk of rupture, but the resident did not call another doctor and did not take tests to diagnose the problem until it was too late.

In the interim, the baby was deprived of oxygen to his brain for a substantial time and was born with severe cerebral palsy. The Army medical center recently agreed to a settlement of the medical malpractice case for $9 million. The funds will be used to take care of the medical expenses of the child, who will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life due to the birth injury. For cases settled in Louisiana and throughout the country, severe brain damage resulting in permanent and total disability will demand an amount on the high end of the range due to lifelong medical expenses and ongoing pain and suffering.

Source: khon2.com, "Tripler to pay $9 million in medical malpractice settlement", Feb. 5, 2016

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