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Birth injury lawsuit settles for $3.75M

All medical malpractice lawsuits are upsetting. Those involving birth injuries that leave newborns with irreparable harm are heartbreaking. Though few Pennsylvania residents likely want to think about them happening, the reality is that they do. While there is nothing that can be done to undo most injuries, because in most cases there is an abundance of medical bills that will accumulate due to the injury, some find it is worthwhile to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the individuals or facilities who are to blame for the injury.

Recently, the parents of a baby born at a state-owned hospital with serious health conditions, including cerebral palsy, reached an agreement on a settlement amount with the state in which the boy was born. The state of Iowa will pay the now 5-year-old boy's parents a total of $3.75 million. Of that amount, half will be paid by the state's general fund. The remaining amount will be covered by a University of Iowa physicians group.

The basis for the lawsuit was the use of Pitocin, a hormone that is commonly administered to mothers during labor to try to speed up the process. According to the couple's attorney, in some cases, the synthetic hormone results in too many contractions which actually leads to a longer delivery and a reduction of the amount of blood that flows to the brain of the baby. The lawsuit alleged that employees of the University of Iowa hospital were negligent in the administration of the hormone which ultimately led to the cerebral palsy.

In response to the lawsuit, representatives for the hospital indicated that there is not any scientific evidence to support the theory regarding excessive contractions causing brain injuries. Despite this denial, the case settled prior to the scheduled trial.

Few would say that money can make-up for what a newborn child loses when a birth injury occurs. Compensation received in a successful lawsuit however may make it easier, both for the child as well as his or her caregivers to face the future.

Source: Associated Press, "APNewsBreak: Iowa to pay $3.75M in boy's injuries," Ryan J. Foley, July 1, 2012

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