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.
Although rare, newborns can sometimes sustain injuries during a C-section delivery in what is the most often-performed surgery in Colorado and across the nation. In one such birth injury, an infant suffered a cut on her face, known as a fetal laceration. These injuries occur when the surgeon attempts to extract the baby with a scalpel and accidentally cuts the baby during the process.
The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments in an appeal of a Canon City fetal injury case that has received national attention. At issue in the case is whether wrongful death liability can be applied to a fetus.
A case regarding medical malpractice and a wrongful death claim may make it all the way to the State Supreme Court of Colorado. A widower is fighting Catholic Health Initiatives over a lower court ruling that stated since his twin sons died in their mother's uterus, they did not meet the state's definition of living. This excludes the babies from the wrongful death suit their father filed. In 2006, the man took his 31-year-old wife to the St. Thomas More Hospital emergency room. She was 28 weeks pregnant with twin boys and experiencing vomiting and shortness of breath. She had a heart attack and died a short time later. Her twins were delivered, but they had died in the womb. Her husband filed a wrongful death suit for all three of them. The court sided with the hospital attorneys' claim that according to state law the babies were not considered living people due to the fact they died in the uterus. The case of the wife's death was dismissed for unrelated legal issues.
Most pregnancies are normal and result in a healthy mother and child. However, recent statistics from the Centers For Disease Control shows a 75 percent increase in birth injuries and complications in the period from 1999 to 2009. Hospitals are seeing an increase in medical problems in mothers, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Women are also waiting longer to have children, so age is becoming a factor as well. Even a seemingly healthy mother can suddenly go into cardiac arrest. In the past, the health worries centered on the baby, but now thoughts are turning to the idea that even a healthy mother may have a complicated pregnancy.
Three lawsuits charge an Atlanta medical facility with the alleged wrongful deaths of three infants over a 60-day period during the summer of 2012. The cases include failure to administer cesarean deliveries in a timely manner and a failure to diagnose early labor. The lawsuits include the facility along with several doctors and other medical professionals. A fourth lawsuit is possibly pending for yet an additional wrongful death related to a birth injury of a baby with a nerve disorder.The facility insists that it provides optimum health care to those admitted and cites its established record of almost 50 years in the community. However, the attorney who represents all three mothers believes the facility could have prevented the deaths. The lawsuit will pursue financial compensation for medical expenses, punitive sanctions, pain and suffering, and loss of possible future earnings.
The family of a New York teen who suffers cerebral palsy because of a premature birth recovered $100 million in a lawsuit against a hospital for medical malpractice.