In the largest California medical malpractice verdict to date, a family was awarded over $74.5 million after their child suffered an injury at birth.
During the child’s delivery, the mother was in prolonged second stage labor that lasted over four hours. During this time, the mother continued to push and the baby remained in a crowning position for a significant amount of time. During this time, the medical staff, including the obstetrician delivering the baby, made countless errors which resulted in the medical malpractice claim.
In terms of the delivery, the obstetrician failed to use forceps or make use of a vacuum to attempt to remove the baby. The OB failed to monitor contractions for a period of thirty minutes, and did not make the decision to perform an episiotomy on the mother, which could have enabled the baby to be delivered more easily.
Once the baby was delivered, additional mistakes were made including not putting the baby on oxygen, a ventilator, or being intubated. All of which would have helped the baby to breathe more easily.
Despite these abhorrent errors that we generally do not see in this day and age, this case goes beyond simple medical negligence. The medical team in this case also made attempts to cover up these errors and falsify medical records to hide the mistakes. Furthermore, the baby’s placental cord blood was disposed of. If it had not been, the cord blood could have been used as evidence to establish brain damage had occurred during the baby’s delivery.
All of these errors resulted in the baby being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a lifelong medical condition that will require assisted living services for the remainder of life. To make matters worse, the obstetrician and the hospital offered no explanation for what happened nor did they apologize for their actions.
The family initially wanted to avoid pursuing legal action, but the lack of remorse and mounting medical costs eventually made it necessary. The attorneys at Wilt & Klausing, PLLC remember this case and told us that “The parents had an obligation to advocate for their severely incapacitated child, and with no answers given by the hospital staff, it made complete sense for them to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.”
Originally offering no compensation to the family, the defendants eventually made a settlement offer of $2 million. However, when the family did not accept, a jury issued an award of $74,525,000 for the losses that both the family and the child endured as a result of the obstetrician’s medical negligence.