IN THE NEWS: PARENTS OF BRAIN-DAMAGED INFANT SUE HOSPITAL
A lawsuit filed just two short weeks ago in the state of Minnesota illustrates several things every patient needs to know about medical malpractice. A couple whose baby was born with significant brain damage is suing both the hospital where their baby was delivered and the corporation that operates that hospital.
A court will now decide whether what happened to that baby at Regions Hospital was the result of malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a health-care provider deviates from the recognized “standard of care” in the treatment of a patient (which means what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances).
What happened? During the delivery, the infant sustained permanent injuries to his brain due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) during the birth. The now 15 month-old has been diagnosed with:
- spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy
- physical and developmental delays
- permanent neurological injuries
The parents are seeking monetary damages to cover what are expected to be his ongoing medical and care costs, plus damages for the emotional damage caused to both parents and child.
The specific medical malpractice claim is that hospital staff failed to properly recognize that the child’s heart was showing signs of distress, and therefore failed to properly respond to those signals or advise his mother to abandon her vaginal birth plan and undergo an emergency cesarean-section.
At Ramey & Hailey Law, where we have been protecting the rights of patients for more than forty years, we realize that, when it comes to medical tragedies like these, there are no “winners”. This Minnesota boy’s health cannot be restored to normal, and for the rest of his life, he and his family members will suffer the results of the injury he suffered during birth. But medical malpractice litigation fills three important purposes:
- to deter unsafe practices
- to compensate persons injured through negligence (including medical costs, lost earnings, and “pain and suffering”)
- to exact corrective justice, reminding medical providers to take greater care