Three Oregon Families File Birth Injury Lawsuits

December 23, 2014

Three different Oregon families allege that their babies, who all have cerebral palsy, were injured during birth. Consequently, the families have filed birth injury lawsuit against Silverton, Oregon’s Silverton Hospital.

According to recent news reports,  the parents in all three lawsuit state the the physician and hospital staff failed to recognize fetal distress in a timely manner, which led their babies developing cerebral palsy and several other medical problems.

In one the cases, the mother, Elizabeth Ramseyer, gave birth to a 10-pound infant. The delivery was difficult, so Ramseyer was given medications to help speed up the labor process. After several hours, the delivery still had not happened, which led to an emergency C-section. When the baby was finally born, he was lifeless. Doctors were able to revive him, but he developed severe medical problems, including muscle damage, permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, behavioral issues, and speech problems.

Since the baby’s brain and muscle damage are lifelong, the parents of the infant will have permanent expenses for leg braces, surgery, therapy, and a host of other medical expenses. The lawsuits that the failure to perform a C-section in a timely manner is what ultimately led to her baby’s medical problems. In addition, the lawsuit states that physicians waited too long to revive the infant, leading to more issues.

“Parents should never be afraid to ask questions of their medical provider, such as, ‘What are the reasons I might need to go in for a C-section?” said Ramseyer’s attorney. “Or, ‘If something does go wrong and my baby is having trouble, what qualified medical staff will be available at birth to care for my child?'” 

Because of the expenses of lifelong medical required for the baby, Ramseyer is suing Silverton Hospital for $40 million. So far, Silverton Hospital has not made any comments on the lawsuits pending against them.

“Failures in communication among medical staff in the delivery room is a leading cause of injuries to newborns,” said Ramseyer’s attorney. 

Choosing the Right Hospital

All of the parents involved in the aforementioned lawsuits are urging new parents to create a signed birth plan that indicates what they want done and what they want to avoid during the delivery. However, it’s also important to choose the right hospital. Some hospitals have state-of-the-art intensive neonatal units while other hospitals do not. Mothers who have had a difficult pregnancy need to consider a hospital with a neonatal unit.

Ironically, Silverton Hospital was named one of the top hospitals in Oregon by Consumer Reports. Yet, in 2013, it was also named as one of the top hospitals for penalties given out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The CMS has investigators visit hospitals each year to make sure the correct safety procedures are being used and all procedures according to the CMS guideline are being used. Silverton’s penalties stemmed from an abundance  high death rates and dissatisfaction among patients.

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pregnancy and delivery, it’s always important to speak up to your physician. You have the legal right to understand everything that’s going on with your pregnancy, labor, and delivery.