Family of Brain-Damaged Boy Reaches $5 Million Settlement in Birth Injury Case

Tracy Ray | February 6th, 2013

baby faceA $5 million settlement was reached out of court in the case of a Massachusetts boy who was left severely disabled from brain damage as a result of birth injuries allegedly caused by medical malpractice on the part of the medical team that delivered him. The settlement was reached in 2008, when the child was 11 years old.

The boy is so severely disabled that he cannot sit or stand, cannot use his arms or legs, cannot swallow, and cannot communicate, although he occasionally smiles, or cries when in pain.

Lawsuit detailed alleged malpractice

The mother’s birth injury lawsuit detailed the events leading up to the boy’s birth injuries. The lawsuit states that on July 7, 1997, at 33 to 34 weeks gestation, the mother had a prenatal exam during which she was left unsupervised with an inexperienced student who failed to fine the fetal heartbeat and failed to note important details about the fetus’ condition that should have required follow-up testing. Dangerous conditions present included high blood pressure, proteinuria, pitting edema and breech presentation. The following day, the defendant obstetrician admitted her ot a hospital, but despite non-reassuring test results revealing fetal distress, he did not immediately order her to be transferred to a hospital that was equipped so safely deliver her baby. Instead, she had to wait for more than four hours after the worrying test results before she was finally transferred to a better-equipped hospital.

On July 8, 1997, the mother was admitted to the Labor and Delivery department of Umass Memorial Hospital, where her baby was born via C-section at 4:18 p.m., weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces. His heartrate was only 40 beats per minute, he had difficulty breathing, he was limp, and his Apgar score was only 1 one minute after birth. The infant was given oxygen followed by bag/mash breaths. At five minute of age, he developed flaring, retractions, grunting, and diminished air exchange.

The baby remained in the hospital for 57 days, during which time he was diagnosed with in utero asphyxiation and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation). Later imaging studies revealed that he additionally had a grade III intraventricular hemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia. As a consequence of his birth injuries, the boy is blind and has impaired hearing. He is severely developmentally delayed, has a seizure disorder and spastic quadriparesis, and needs to be fed through a jejunostomy tube.

Out-of-court settlement reached

The child’s mother filed a birth injury lawsuit and expected to go to court. However, after eight days of deliberation, the parties agreed to an out-of-court $5 million settlement.

When a child is born, the parents have every right to expect the highest standard of care in the delivery room. If a child suffers serious birth injuries because of the negligence of the medical team entrusted with the baby’s safety, those responsible must be held liable. The legal team of BalkIN & Eisbrouch have more than four decades of experience in litigating birth injury and malpractice cases. Call us today for a free consultation about your case. You pay nothing unless we win you a settlement.