Family Awarded $16M in Medical Negligence Lawsuit

An Alabama family made headlines in 2016 after being awarded $16 million in a medical negligence lawsuit against an Alabama hospital. In a traumatic example of the devastating effects of medical negligence, this story is just one of many highlighting the unfortunate reality of negligent healthcare. See below to learn more about the lawsuit, and what you can do to protect your rights and pursue justice if you have been injured by medical negligence.

Lawsuit Facts and Information

In 2012, Caroline Malatesta prepared to give birth to her fourth child. Determined to have a natural birth experience within her own control, she chose Brookwood Women’s Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Marketed as being “Your Birth, Your Way”, Malatesta felt confident going into the childbirth process. Her obstetrician was in support and they crafted a birthing plan built around her desire for a natural, mobile birth. Unfortunately, when the time came to give birth, what she experienced was not within her control or birthing plan at all. Instead, it was something out of a nightmare.

Malatesta found herself restrained during labor, unable to move around the room (as had been promised), and unable to use the birthing methods (tubs, bars, mobile monitoring, etc.) that the hospital touted as being top-notch, and that she and her doctor had discussed. After her water broke, a nurse forcefully delayed labor by holding the child’s head inside the mother after he had crowned. 

This experience resulted in extreme pain and Malatesta developed pudendal neuralgia, a condition affecting the nerves in the pelvis. When she asked the nurse for her regular obstetrician, she was informed that he was not on call, and no effort was made to call him to the hospital. Once the on-call obstetrician arrived, Malatesta gave birth within one minute.

While Malatesta’s child has born healthy, she now lives with pudendal neuralgia permanently and experiences bouts of chronic pain, a diminished sex life, and loss of energy and mobility. After months of fighting for answers from the hospital, it became clear that the best option for the Malatesta family was pursuing legal action. In 2014 they filed a medical negligence lawsuit. In August 2016, the jury ruled in favor of the Malatesta’s, ruling that the hospital had violated its standard of care. 

The Malatestas were awarded $11 million in compensatory damages, as well as $5 million in punitive damages for reckless fraud due to the hospital’s misrepresentation of facts.

Birth Injury Attorneys Discuss Medical Negligence

Even in the best circumstances, giving birth is not easy. There is a fine line between the normal trauma that occurs during childbirth, and trauma that is needless and preventable. It is the responsibility of healthcare providers to recognize events that move outside the scope of “normal”, address them and administer proper care. Failing to do so can result in serious injury to the mother and child. Some examples of hospital and medical negligence include:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosing an injury, illness or disease.
  • Surgical errors, including wrong-site surgery, retained objects or wrong-patient surgery.
  • Birth injuries, including injuries to the mother or child.
  • Medication errors, including over-medication or prescription errors.
  •  Improper care leading to infection or bedsores.

Medical negligence, including incidents resulting in birth injuries, is never acceptable, and patients need not feel that they are alone or without options to pursue justice. Every state has medical malpractice laws that apply to cases of medical negligence. When a healthcare provider violates his or her duty of care to you as a patient and you are harmed, it is important that you explore your legal rights. 

Your best option to explore your rights and learn more about possible legal action is consulting with a birth injury attorney experienced in managing medical negligence cases.

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If you or your child is injured as a result of medical negligence, call us to learn more.

Legal Guidance You can Count On

At Birth Injury Guide, our team of birth injury attorneys know all too well the devastating effects of medical negligence. We are dedicated to providing competent, compassionate and comprehensive legal guidance that your family can count on. Whether you or your child has been injured due to medical negligence, our attorneys can help you fight for your rights and the stability of your family’s future.

Our goal is to make the legal process as painless as possible so you can focus on your family while we advocate for your best interests. As you consider your rights and legal options and prepare to meet with an attorney, consider the following helpful tips:

  • Avoid confrontation or settlement discussions with opposing parties. It is always advisable to have an attorney help you communicate with other parties in a dispute.
  • Be aware of any paperwork or hospital documents you have signed that refer to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or arbitration, which may affect your ability to file a lawsuit.
  • Keep a journal and timeline of your experience, including any physical or mental injuries, symptoms, hospitalizations, doctor’s appointments, medications, etc. Also keep a record of how these elements of your experience have affected your day-to-day life.
  • Keep copies of any invoices, bills, or insurance statements you may receive that are related to your medical negligence case. 
  • Remember that medical malpractice claims have a two (2) year statute of limitations. Depending on whether the injury is to you or your child, you may need to file your lawsuit within that time frame. 

While pursuing legal action against a healthcare provider or hospital may seem complicated or overwhelming, the team at Birth Injury Guide has a reputation for aggressive advocacy and success on behalf of our clients.

Contact Birth Injury Guide Today

Find out more about your legal rights, birth injuries, medical negligence claims and how our attorneys can help you by filling out our online form, or by calling us at 877-415-6603. We offer every potential client a no-obligation case evaluation, and do not require fees upfront. If we do not obtain a verdict or settlement on your behalf, you owe us nothing.

Tiffany Lee, M.D.

Page Medically Reviewed By Tiffany Lee, M.D.

Tiffany Lee, M.D. is a board certified general pediatrician. She has experience in primary and urgent care. She is also a skilled tele-health practitioner. She is a regular medical reviewer for Birth Injury Guide.

Sam Uribe

Written By Sam Uribe

Sam Uribe is a researcher and writer. She lends her expertise to the team at Birth Injury Guide to provide up-to-date and relevant content that clients can count on.