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Settlement in Birth Injury Case Gives Hurt Family Compensation

In 2000, an expectant mother was in labor at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital when her physician and nurse failed to determine the presentation of the baby's head. They also failed to diagnose that the expectant mother was experiencing cephalopelvic disproportion, a condition that means the baby's head is too large to fit through the mother's pelvis in natural childbirth.

An obstetrician was consulted, but he did not order an emergency Cesarean section. The baby's heartbeat slowed for more than fifteen minutes. When the obstetrician returned from performing another delivery, he ordered an immediate Cesarean procedure.

The mother delivered a baby girl who survived, but suffered extensive birth injuries. She suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a condition caused by a lack of oxygen to the whole brain. The HIE caused cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Additionally, the mother was not properly anesthetized during the emergency Cesarean, and had to be held down while the abdominal incision was made.

As a result of the birth injuries, the now 10-year-old girl suffers from moderate cognitive defects and motor delays that make physical activities like walking a struggle. Her parents need an oversized stroller to take her outside and she will need assistance walking for the rest of her life. The girl also needs help with daily activities including dressing, bathing and using the bathroom.

Because of this injury, this child will not be able to live independently and will need assistance for the rest of her life. The girl's family sued the hospital and physician for malpractice, seeking compensation for what was taken from them. Last week, her family announced a settlement with the hospital and physician for $6.5 million dollars. While nothing can reverse the damage done to this girl and her family, they will now have the assets to give their daughter the assistance and treatment she deserves.

Source: Park Ridge Herald-Advocate: $6.5M awarded to girl who suffered brain injury during birth; 11/24/2010

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