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David Lowe
David Lowe
Attorney • (414) 727-2200

Jury Awards $15.8 Million For Cerebral Palsy Victim

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A Michigan court jury has awarded $15.8 million in damages for a child born with cerebral palsy allegedly the result of medical malpractice. The family’s attorneys alleged that the doctors managing the birth were negligent in failing to perform a cesarean section delivery when the fetus experienced difiiculty during prolonged labor.

Unfortunately, this type of tragic error occurs all too often. It is estimated that beween two and seven babies per 1000 suffer a birth injury or serious condition, usually due to prolonged labor, prematurity, cephalopelvic disproportion, dystocia, or abnormal presentation of the fetus during delivery. Many of the birth injuries might have been avoided by emergency caesarean section delivery once it became clear that the baby was at risk during labor.

Birth injury lawsuits usually focus on the question whether the hospital nurses and physicians negligently failed to diagnose fetal distress during labor. At times, determining the cause of cerebral palsy can be a challenge. However, the medical records often shed light on the question. Fetal monitor strips may demonstrate that the fetus is receving a reduced oxygen supply, often the result of compression on the umbilical cord. These strips are preserved by the hospital and provide useful evidence of a developing risk to the fetus. Lab reports of umbilical cord blood gas may reveal high acid levels in the fetus’s blood indicating insufficient oxygen supply. Nurses notes in the labor progress record often provide crucial evidence.

Sometimes, the parents do not discover the connection until years after birth, leading to statute of limitations issues.. It is therefore important to have these cases reviewed promptly before legal rights expire.