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Birth injury malpractice suit will cost county $7.5 million

In a case that Denver parents may have taken note of, on Oct. 30, a settlement was approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court for the biggest medical malpractice settlement in the county in more than eight years, according to a county representative. Under the terms of the settlement, the county will be paying $7.5 million to a 25-year-old mother who was formerly homeless with two children. She filed the malpractice suit on behalf of her third child, now 1.5 years old. She alleged that inadequate medical care caused the boy to suffer a lack of oxygen during delivery.

According to the woman's attorney, in April 2012, when she was 39 weeks pregnant, she experienced severe abdominal pain and was transported to L.A. County-USC Medical Center via ambulance. She was discharged without ever seeing an obstetrician following 14 hours in the labor room. In less than 12 hours, she had to return to the hospital with a ruptured uterus. Her son was delivered by emergency C-section.

The toddler was admitted to a Sun Valley long-term care facility because he suffered severe brain damage. The settlement funds were planned to be used for purchasing an annuity for payment of the child's future medical care and to help the mother purchase a home where her disabled son can live with his family.

In this case, the court ruled that the timely and appropriate treatment of the expectant mother could have saved her child from a life-altering disability. A birth injury that could have been prevented may cause a family a great deal of grief. Parents in the Denver area who are experiencing a similar situation may believe that they have grounds to file a personal injury claim, for which legal aid may be available.

Source: LA Times, "L.A. County to pay $7.5 million in childbirth malpractice case", Abby Sewell, November 06, 2013

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