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Mother's medical malpractice claim gets $16 million award

Louisiana, like other states, sees many birth injury claims annually. Occasionally, injuries during child delivery are suffered by the mother and not the baby. That happened recently when a woman suffered a permanently painful condition after going to a special center that advertised natural birth procedures. A jury recently awarded the woman $16 million in a medical malpractice claim against the center.

The lawsuit claimed that the medical staff restrained the plaintiff, made her lay on her back and applied pressure to delay the birth. The mother ended up with Pudendal Neuralgia, a permanently painful nerve damage in the pelvic area. The pudendal nerve that runs through the pelvis becomes entrapped or compressed. The pain suffered in this rare condition may be enhanced by sitting. Other symptoms may include genital numbness and fecal and urinary incontinence.

Part of the case was based on the false advertising aspect of the medical center claiming to have a special procedure for natural births. Clearly, the jury agreed with the plaintiffs that the promises of natural birth were deceptive and even fraudulent. That fact is reflected in the jury's verdict including $6 million for punitive damages. According to statements by plaintiff's attorney, one theme of this medical malpractice case was the medical center's quest to make more money by advertising a general concept that was basically untrue and discredited medically.

The plaintiff described living with a constant pain that others may find hard to believe. The plaintiff would be required to prove by medical expert testimony that she suffered the condition and that it was caused by the procedure administered by defendants. The jury, however, resoundingly believed that the woman was suffering with constant pain, and it also sharply rebuked the advertising policies of the medical center by entering the punitive damages award. Louisiana law would allow the possibility of a similar result in a medical malpractice case under these facts.

Source: wbrc.com, "Couple awarded $16 million against Brookwood Medical Center", Lydia Hu, Aug. 7, 2016

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