Hospital faces three lawsuits for cerebral palsy

When a woman is pregnant, she has dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby. In some cases, that doesn't happen because of events that are beyond anyone's control. In some cases, however, a baby that could have been born perfectly healthy is born with medical problems because of decisions made by the health care team. Three families are suing a hospital for medical malpractice in the delivery room.

The lawsuits allege that medical malpractice while the women were in labor caused their babies to have cerebral palsy. The three lawsuits total almost $100 million altogether.

One doctor, who is the Director of Neuro-Development Programs at a university, says that only around 8 percent of full-term babies with a healthy pregnancy are brain damaged because of something that happened in the delivery room. He said that having three cerebral palsy births at the same hospital in a two-year period is a red flag, but that it might not mean anything.

The hospital named in the lawsuit was one of the top in its state in 2009, according to Consumer Reports. Last year, however, the same hospital was one of the most penalized in the state because of low patient satisfaction and high death rates.

One of the families that has filed a lawsuit for $40 million shared their heartbreaking story. The mother says that her 10-pound son was born lifeless after she had a C-section following nurses trying medications to help move the labor along. She alleges that doctors didn't resuscitate the baby quickly enough, despite having the right doctors and right equipment.

The mother said she just wants to be able to take care of her son, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, when doctors say he needs something. The child suffers from lack of muscle development in his right leg and arm. He also has speech issues and rage tantrums.

Birth injuries are never okay. Women who are in labor have the right to expect that the obstetricians at the hospital will take care of them and their babies in a way that is medically responsible.

Source: KGW.com, "Silverton Hosp. sued over cerebral palsy births" Nina Mehlhaf, Apr. 10, 2014

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