A Georgia birth injury case has ended with a $30.5 million verdict in favor of the injured child and her family. According to the lawsuit, in 2012 the child suffered a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury during birth. As a result, the child developed spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and has developmental delays.
Troubled Events Lead to Birth Injury
In June 2012, the mother represented in the lawsuit presented to her obstetrician for a scheduled appointment. At 35-weeks pregnant, a biophysical profile was completed with equivocal results. Three days later, the mother reported back to her doctor complaining of reduced or absent fetal movement compared to normal. A non-stress test and ultrasound indicated potential complications with end diastolic blood flow, but delivery was not immediately ordered.
Instead, the mother was sent to Gwinnett Medical Center, where she was to be monitored and consult with a maternal fetal medicine specialist. A miscommunication resulted in the maternal fetal specialist consult being delayed by three hours. Along with the delayed consult, triage and admission were both delayed, and eventually “numerous opportunities” to deliver a healthy baby were neglected. The result was the child being delivered via cesarean section after discovery of terminal bradycardia.
After two and a half years, this Georgia family finally has some relief for their situation and doubtless financial expenses. The court awarded $27 million to the little girl, and $3.5 million to her mother. This award will go a long way toward providing care for the little girl, and helping her overcome any challenges associated with her birth injuries.
Dangers of Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury that occurs when an infant does not receive enough blood and oxygen while in the womb, or during the delivery process. HIE requires immediate treatment to avoid serious or permanent injury or death. HIE is one of the most deadly birth injuries affecting newborns in the United States. Some of the most common factors leading to HIE include:
- Poor placental blood circulation
- Cardiac disease
- Congenital fetal infections
- Fetal anemia
- Very low maternal blood pressure
- Prolonged labor
- Excessive placental bleeding
Depending on the cause and severity of HIE, healthcare providers have several options available to them for treatment. Common treatment options include cooling therapy, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, medication, heart and blood pressure treatment, and mechanical ventilation for breathing.
Effects of Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury
Not only is HIE dangerous, and even deadly, it is also often preventable. Careful monitoring of the infant’s vital signs and quick action when treatment is needed can prevent serious brain damage or death. It is up to healthcare providers to ensure that HIE is recognized and treated immediately.
If HIE is recognized and treated immediately, there may be only mild symptoms and no long-term damage. If left untreated, however, HIE often results in serious, long-term health complications, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Epilepsy/seizure disorders
- Motor skill delays
- Developmental delays
- Cognitive issues
- Neurodevelopment delays
In cases like the one discussed above, the devastating effects of HIE were recognizable immediately. In many cases, the true extent of the effects of brain damage are not known until the child reaches three or four years old. For this reason, it is important that parents understand birth injuries, why they happen, and what they can do to protect their child.
Managing Life After a Birth Injury
Life after a birth injury is not easy, especially if it was the result of negligence or substandard care. There are many considerations when caring for a child with conditions like cerebral palsy, such as their home life, education, socialization, and abilities to care for themselves as they move into adulthood. Parents may find some relief in the form of Social Security Disability benefits, community organizations, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, these entities cannot provide resolution for the injustice that is medical negligence.
Parents who believe that their child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence should consider taking a step further by contacting a birth injury attorney. Medical negligence resulting in harm to you or your loved ones is never acceptable, and you have the right to stand up and demand justice.
Birth Injury Attorneys Who Care
Our attorneys not only offer you years of skill and experience, we also offer care and compassion. We are dedicated to helping our clients understand their legal rights and options in a way that is compassionate and considerate in such a difficult situation.
Don’t let the weight of your situation, or the fear of taking on a healthcare provider or hospital prevent you from protecting your legal rights and the future of your family. Contact our office to schedule a free case review with one of our attorneys.