$14 Million Verdict Against Gwinnett County Hospital for Birth Injuries Raises Important Issues
If you are a parent, there are few experiences as devastating as medical malpractice that causes severe brain damage to your newborn baby. While sometimes these tragedies are unavoidable, errors by medical professionals and hospitals immediately prior to, during or following delivery can cause cerebral palsy and other severe birth injuries.
A Gwinnett County jury verdict against a Lawrenceville hospital in the amount of nearly $14 million provides a grim reminder of the potential consequences of substandard care prior to or during the delivery process. A mother went to Gwinnett Medical Center to give birth to her child. The mother subsequently filed a lawsuit on behalf of herself and her newborn against the hospital, two nurses and a mid-wife. The infant was born with severe neurological injuries, cerebral palsy, grand mal seizures and severe developmental deficiencies.
The plaintiffs alleged that the fetal heart monitoring strip showed negative signs during the labor and delivery process. The nurses and mid-wife allegedly failed to properly diagnose the fetus as being in distress. Because appropriate action were not taken in response to the distress, the fetus suffered hypoxic ischemic injury due to oxygen deprivation.
The mid-wife settled with the plaintiffs prior to trial, but the nurses and hospital defended on the grounds that the proper standard of care was observed. The defendants also disputed the cause of the neurological injuries suffered by the fetus. According to the defendants, the injuries were the result of an infection during the mother's pregnancy. While the nurses received a defense verdict, the jury returned a judgment in the amount of $13,813,765 against the hospital.
This verdict demonstrates some key aspects of lawsuits involving birth injuries that include the following:
Multiple Defendants: When a newborn suffers cerebral palsy or other severe neurological injury, the injury often results from negligence by multiple parties, including some or all of the following: the obstetrician, nurses, anesthesiologist, mid-wives, hospital, pharmaceutical companies and others. Birth injury attorneys work closely with medical experts to evaluate medical records and other evidence, so all appropriate defendants can be identified and named.
Causation Issues: Even when medical errors or omissions occur, such as in the case described above, medical professionals may attribute the injury to causes other than the medical care provided by the defendants. Typically, experts must be used to identify the causal link between the acts or omissions of the defendants and the resulting adverse outcome.
Extensive Damages: When a newborn experiences severe cognitive or physical impairment because of a medical error, lawsuits and financial compensation are not usually the first priority for parents. However, the lifetime care of a newborn who suffers from cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy or other severe birth injury can easily amount to a millions of dollars. A birth injury lawsuit can generate a financial recovery that helps parents provide the child with the highest quality of life possible.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case
If your child suffers a significant birth injury, contact our Gwinnett County to discuss your legal rights. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.