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Ohio State settles birth injury lawsuit for $5.25M

Since 1996, Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center has settled a total of 11 medical malpractice cases for $1 million or more, according to data provided by the university. Recently, the second-largest ever malpractice lawsuit was settled for $5.25 million after a child suffered birth injuries that left him with major brain damage.

The birth injuries took place in April 2006 after the child’s mother was admitted to the hospital while in the initial stages of labor. The child was delivered less than 24 hours later via emergency cesarean section, but was deprived of oxygen during the process and suffered a brain injury.

The child’s parents eventually sued the hospital, charging that the obstetrician overseeing the labor did not manage the labor properly and did not order a C-section soon enough. The Ohio Court of Claims agreed and was also persuaded by the testimony of two doctors who said that the drug Pitocin was administered improperly during the labor.

The doctors testified that Pitocin is a drug that intensifies uterine contractions, but in this case ended up restricting blood and oxygen to the child. The child ended up suffering what the parents’ attorney called “a profound brain injury” and requires 24-hour care.

In a statement, Ohio State’s medical center said it reached a “fair and just resolution to the case” by agreeing to settle the lawsuit for $5.25 million. The child’s mother, who is a U.S. citizen from Somalia, said she was happy with the settlement and felt that justice was served.

The obstetrician at issue in the case, who is now 76, has since retired from practice. He did not provide a comment on the settlement.

Source:  The Columbus Dispatch, “Brain injury during birth costs Ohio State hospital $5.25 million,” Ben Sutherly, June 28, 2013