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Hospital to Pay Millions in Birth Injury Settlement

Justice is served

A birth injury settlement was recently reached in the case involving a boy who was left disabled for life. T.J. Samson Community Hospital has agreed to pay $17.5 million to the boy and his mother to compensate the family for medical expense and other losses.

The birth injury lawsuit was brought to trial last November. The plaintiff alleged that the Glasgow, KY hospital and the obstetrician were negligent during the labor and delivery of her child, and the jury agreed with her.

Jurors determined that the hospital was negligent and liable, although the Ob/Gyn was cleared of liability. Jurors ordered the defendant to pay $18.27 million. However, in a somewhat unusual twist of fate, the mother agreed to accept a slightly lower settlement. In return, the hospital will not appeal the verdict.

Pitocin-induced labor

The mother presented at the hospital in 2007 for the delivery of her son. According to a family spokesman, the mother had no known injuries or conditions, and did not have a high-risk pregnancy. The doctor ordered that the labor be induced with Pitocin, a commonly used medication that has caused trouble for many other women and newborns. According to the family spokesman, the obstetrician had left “standing orders for the administration of the Pitocin,” and had informed attending medical staff that the contractions should not exceed a total of four per 10 minutes.

Despite this, the mother experienced this contraction pattern for six hours, which resulted in oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. Additionally, the lawsuit claimed that the doctor had ordered the epidural to be turned off because the plaintiff was experiencing difficulty pushing. However, the epidural was not turned off. Subsequently, the baby became lodged in the birth canal.

The lawsuit alleged that the hospital should be held liable for neglect because it did not have properly trained medical staff in the Ob/Gyn department. The plaintiff alleged the nurses were not trained for labor and delivery, nor did they have a basic understanding of fetal medicine. For these serious acts of negligence, the plaintiff initially demanded $24 million.

Boy will require lifelong care

Because of the oxygen deprivation to his brain, the minor child developed spastic quadriplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy. This type of cerebral palsy is the most severe form of the disorder. The cause has been established as widespread brain damage or significant brain malformations. Although the specifics of this particular child’s challenges were not disclosed, most children with spastic quadriplegia are never able to walk. They typically have trouble speaking and being understood, and they often have a moderate to severe intellectual disability. Additionally, children with this form of cerebral palsy tend to display a floppy neck and severe stiffness in the limbs. They often suffer from frequent seizures that are particularly difficult to manage.

Although the settlement involves a significant sum of money, it will have to last for the rest of the boy’s life. He requires continual care and is not expected to ever be able to care for himself, much less support himself.