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Birth injuries lawsuit results in $42 million award

The birth of a child is a miraculous and special event for most Delaware parents. Unfortunately despite research and advances in medical care, debilitating birth injuries still occur, making many births tragic. With proper care and adequate monitoring, some birth injuries are unnecessary and preventable. A family in a neighboring state was recently awarded $42 million by a federal judge who ruled that their delivering physician's negligence caused undue harm to their son.

As the couple anticipated the impending arrival of their son, the mother labored at a federally funded hospital. According to medical records, the woman's labor was uncomplicated. For unspecified clinical reasons, the physician opted to use forceps to aide in the delivery. Forceps are a tool that grip a baby's skull to allow the physician to help pull the baby during delivery once the baby has passed through part of the birth canal, but they are usually reserved for when there are complications.

Not only did the physician likely use forceps unnecessarily, but he pulled on the baby's skull a total of four times. According to standard procedures for using forceps in delivery, the case revealed that the physician also used them too early in the delivery process. Immediately after delivery, the baby exhibited marks on his skin from the forceps, and within hours he showed signs of brain bleeding. Unfortunately, the bleeding in his brain resulted in permanent brain damage, necessitating a dependence on others for the rest of his life.

To calculate the large monetary award for the baby's birth injuries, the judge factored in a lifetime of medical care, past medical expenses, suffering of the parents and lost income that the child may have earned during his lifetime. While compensation does not reduce the pain of the parents seeing their child harmed, it helps to relieve the resulting lifetime financial burden of the boy's injuries and allows the parents to provide adequate care. Medical malpractice attorneys in Delaware can advise parents with similar childbirth injury cases of options available for legal recourse.

Source: publicopiniononline.com, "Chambersburg family awarded $42M after doctor causes birth injury", April 20, 2017

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