All too often, a medical mistake made before, during or after birth leaves devastating effects on a infant or the infant’s mother. Sometimes, a hospital or staff member is liable for the birth injury and can be sued for damages. Recently, a Midwestern family was awarded $3.75 million after their infant son suffered brain injuries five years ago.
According to the family, the mother was at the end of her pregnancy and given the drug Pitocin to help speed up her delivery. However, the drug, which is commonly given to pregnant women to assist with contractions, somehow had the opposite effect and caused the labor to last 28 hours.
The prolonged labor is said to have deprived the infant’s brain of oxygen, which caused him to develop mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other serious health conditions. An attorney for the family said Pitocin is a synthetic hormone that often leads to excessive contractions, which can be very dangerous to the infant.
The family argued that the hospital and attending staff had been negligent by giving the mother Pitocin before determining if her contractions were already too frequent and strong. Additionally, the lawsuit stated that hospital staff continued to give the mother the drug even after it was evident that her contractions were excessive.
It was the excessive contractions, the lawsuit stated, that caused “significant trauma” to the infant’s head. The family’s attorney said the drug is at issue in a growing number of birth injury lawsuits. He said hospitals throughout the country differ as to how they use and monitor the drug.
Lawyers representing the hospital claimed that the infant’s brain injuries were caused by factors unrelated to the birth. They contended that there is no scientific evidence available showing that excessive contractions can cause brain injuries in infants. Even so, the hospital agreed to settle the lawsuit for $3.75 million to help cover the child’s past and future medical needs.
Source: Associated Press, “APNewsBreak: Iowa to pay $3.75M in boy’s injuries,” Ryan J. Foley, July 1, 2012