Iowa Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlement Approved

A $500,000 settlement was approved in an Iowa birth injury lawsuit this week after a local hospital was accused of mishandling the treatment of a woman shortly after she gave birth.

In 2009, Amy Peterson checked into the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) for a cesarean section surgery (C-section). Afterwards, she needed a vaginal laceration repair, and alleges that the physicians botched the treatment, leaving her with an kidney injury and on dialysis.

In addition, the C-section was not performed correctly, resulting in cervical obstruction and an eventual hysterectomy.

On Monday, the Iowa Appeals Board approved the settlement of $500,000. The university hospital’s insurance company is responsible for $450,000 of the settlement. An additional $5,800 in medical bills were waived for Peterson.

This isn’t the first time UIHC has been accused of birth injuries. In 2012, Jody and Steve Schmitz filed a lawsuit against the hospital after Jody Schmitz suffered a bladder laceration during a 2008 C-section delivery. In addition to the C-section injury, their infant son suffered a partial skull fracture, subdural hemorrhages, and skull deformity. 

Jody Schmitz developed infections, bowel obstruction, and a pelvic abscess after the botched treatment. She was placed on a feeding tube shortly after.

“Mr. and Mrs. Schmitz contend that the State of Iowa is liable for the negligence of UIHC personnel in the handling of the labor and delivery. The UIHC staff negligently failed to promptly and safely deliver Aiden, and failed to promptly take Mrs. Schmitz to the operating room,” the lawsuit stated.

In another 2012 Iowa birth injury lawsuit, the state agreed to a $3.75 million settlement after an infant was born with severe brain damage due to medical negligence at UIHC. Jonathon and Martha Fountain filed the lawsuit on behalf of their son, who now lives with permanent intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and several other medical issues.

Martha Fountain stated that she was given Pitocen, a labor-inducing medication, before physicians determined if her contractions were too strong. The medical staff continue to administer Pitocin for several hours, even though records show that her contractions were already happening too fast and too strong. The frequency of the contractions caused severe damage to the infant’s head and skull, who was already having a hard time moving through the birth canal. Over 24 hours later, Martha Fountain underwent an emergency C-section.

Although the Fountain family agreed to settle the lawsuit for $3.75 million to avoid a lengthy trial, economic experts state that the lifetime medical care for the baby will go as high as $6.3 million.