Articles Posted in Birthing Injuries

A renowned hospital in Baltimore has been ordered to pay $230 million for allegedly causing a severe birth injury, according to plaintiffs. Medical malpractice attorneys understand this case involved failure to abide the standard of care for that profession, allegedly causing severe birth injury.birth injury attorney

The verdict includes:

  • $3.6 million in prior medical expenses;
  • $1 million in lost earnings
  • $25 million in non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
  • $200 million in future damages

In Byrom v. Johns Hopkins Bayview stemmed from allegations that doctors and nurses at the hospital gave the child’s 16-year-old mother inaccurate information about the seriousness of the outcome after she was diagnosed with preeclampsia. This, plaintiff attorneys alleged, resulted in the teen mother’s decision to undergo a vaginal delivery – unmonitored – rather than a C-section she should have undergone. Continue reading

You are likely aware that if a physician or other health care provider is negligent in providing medical care, patients have recourse in the form of a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit.Palm Beach birth injury lawyer

However, unlike typical negligence lawsuits, there are all kinds of special rules. For example, claims must first go through a mediation process. The “standard of care” for doctors is different than what is used in general negligence lawsuits. And then there are some cases where doctors can be totally immune from medical malpractice claims if there services were provided on a volunteer basis via F.S. 766.1115.

Volunteer Docs Enjoy Government Immunity

Essentially, if the doctor’s services are provided via contract to the state’s Department of Health free-of-charge as part of an initiative to ensure indigent patients receive care, those doctors have sovereign immunity protection and can’t be named as a defendant in medical malpractice claim connected to that care. Continue reading

South Florida medical malpractice attorneys recognize obstetrics and gynecology as a medical practice area with higher-than-average rates of litigation. Malpractice in obstetrics and gynecology can result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities for both women and babies. A recent survey by Medscape revealed some of the top reasons for lawsuits against Ob/Gyns are:

  • Patient suffers an abnormal injury – 36 percent
  • Failure to diagnose – 22 percent
  • Failure to treat – 15 percent
  • Poor documentation of patient instruction and education – 5 percent
  • Improperly obtaining/ lack of informed consent – 4 percent
  • Failure to follow safety procedures – 3 percent
  • Errors in medication administration – 2 percentbirth injury lawyer

These usually involved a maternal or fetal death, failed tubal litigation, poor timing/ performance of a cesarean section, bowel perforation or shoulder dystocia. A recent case of a catastrophic injury suffered by a baby delivered by an Ob/Gyn at a federally-funded hospital was allegedly caused by the physician’s “unjustified and overly-vigorous use” of forceps during the birth of a child. The child reportedly now suffers from lifelong mental disabilities, and after a jury awarded the family $42 million for this severe brain injury, the federal government has withdrawn its appeal.  Continue reading

Halberg & Fogg PLLC, recently secured a $2.3 million medical malpractice settlement with Golisano Children’s Hospital, stemming from a brain injury and arm amputation of a newborn in 2013.medical malpractice

Halberg fought on behalf of the boy, who was born prematurely at his Lee County home before being whisked to the hospital. As noted in the original complaint, nurses at the hospital are accused of improperly inserting an intravenous line known as a PICC (short for peripherally inserted central catheter).

This medical mistake remained undetected for almost a full week. This was despite the fact the baby had signs and symptoms of serious issues due to impeded blood flow. By the time medical workers discovered their mistake, the newborn’s fingertips were black. His hand was shriveled. Continue reading

A jury has decided to award the parents of 2-year-old Bryan Santana $4.5 million in Palm Beach medical malpractice damages in their civil case against Perinatal Specialists of the Palm Beaches, OB/GYN Specialists of the Palm Beaches, and Dr. Marie Morel. Santana, now 2, has one leg and no arms. He was born in October 2008.

Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana sued the defendants for Palm Beach birthing malpractice claiming that Mejia would have never carried the pregnancy to term if they were aware of their son’s severe birth defects. Yet even though Mejia underwent more than one ultrasound, her OB/GYN and technicians at both centers failed to notice that their son was missing three limbs. The two of them said they didn’t know until after they saw their son that he would be so severely impaired. The defendants’ attorneys, meantime, countered that Bryan’s parents should have agreed to an amniocentesis, which might have detected their son’s abnormalities. The couple, however, said they decided not to have that procedure because they feared that doing so might cause Mejia to miscarry.

Mejia and Santana had originally sought $9 million. They made it clear, however, that the compensation they were seeking isn’t for their own mental trauma and emotional anguish but for their son’s wheelchairs, surgeries, attendants, prosthesis, and other needs he will require for the rest of his life. The jury awarded them half that amount when they decided that the ultrasound technician was 15% liable, while 85% of the liability was assigned to Dr. Morel, for errors made that resulted in the incorrect reading of the ultrasound results. The defendants plan to appeal the verdict.

There are medical procedures and tests available that a mother can undergo during pregnancy to make sure that the fetus is a viable and healthy one. These tests are also important for determining whether there are any birth defects that might so serious that terminating the pregnancy is best option.

Jury awards West Palm Beach parents of child born with no arms, one leg $4.5 million, Palm Beach Post, September 10, 2011
Couple sues doctor for baby’s disabilities, UPI, September 8, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Birth Defects, MedLinePlus
Birth Defects, American Pregnancy Association

More Blog Posts:

Florida Medical Malpractice Cap Upheld by US Appeals Court, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 29, 2011 Palm Beach County Doctors Cite Fear of Medical Malpractice as a Reason for the Increase in C-Section Deliveries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 15, 2008
Report Links Topamax to Birth Defects, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 22, 2008 Continue reading

According to the state’s highest court, the parents of Trista Bennett can sue St. Vincent’s Medical Center for Florida medical malpractice instead of going through a state fund for birthing injuries. The girl, now 10, sustained permanent brain damage after her delivery.

Bennett was delivered by C-section at the hospital after her mother was involved in a car accident. The infant had to be resuscitated after her birth. She later developed respiratory distress and was moved from the newborn nursery to the special care section. She then started to experience kidney problems and liver issues. On October 3, 2001, Bennett stopped breathing after suffering from a pulmonary hemorrhage.

In their Florida medical malpractice complaint, Tammy and Robert Bennett are accusing obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. William H. Long and the hospital of negligence. They believe their daughter was given too much intravenous fluid and that the hospital waited until it was too late to test her for serum electrolyte derangements.

The hospital had contended that the Florida medical malpractice case fell under the state’s Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan, which is a non-fault program that is supposed to cover the birth-related neurological injuries of newborns who did not get enough oxygen during labor, delivery, and resuscitation. The Bennetts, however, claimed that their daughter’s brain injury occurred after the “post-delivery period,” and they therefore can sue.

An administrative law judge sided with the Bennetts. The Florida First District Court of Appeal then reversed the ruling. Now, the Florida Supreme Court of Florida has overturned the appellate court’s ruling.

Brain-damaged girl’s parents can sue hospital and doctor, Florida court rules, American Medical News, August 1, 2011

Read the Florida Supreme Court’s Decision

Related Web Resource:

The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan

More Blog Posts:

Florida Woman that Delivered Baby into Toilet Sues Carrollwood Hospital for Medical Malpractice, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2008
West Palm Beach Parents that Gave Birth to Stillborn Twins Say They Will Sue Florida Hospital For Medical Malpractice, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 29, 2008
Palm Beach County Doctors Cite Fear of Medical Malpractice as a Reason for the Increase in C-Section Deliveries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 15, 2008 Continue reading

A Florida woman that didn’t know she was pregnant and delivered her baby into the toilet in a restroom at the University Community Hospital in Carrollwood is suing the Tampa hospital for medical malpractice.

2 1/2 years ago, Robin Lumley arrived at the hospital complaining of vaginal bleeding and serious pains in her abdomen. Hospital staffers ordered tests, including a pregnancy test that was never performed, and her symptoms were documented. Lumley, who was 46 at the time and single, was reportedly never fully examined because she was in too much pain.

Hospital staffers allowed Lumley to go to the restroom, where she delivered a 6-pound baby into the toilet. The baby girl, Brianna Rose, almost drowned. She also went into respiratory arrest and sustained brain damage following her delivery. She will now require specialized medical care for life.

Lumley’s lawsuit contends that it was the hospital’s negligence in failing to detect that she was in labor that caused birthing injury to her baby. Lumley claims she did not know she was pregnant until her baby was born.

According to psychologists, women have been known to conceal their pregnancies even from themselves. Three kinds of pregnancy denials include:

• Pervasive denial
• Psychotic denial
• Affective denial

In the event that a doctor, nurse, or another health care provider fails to provide a mother in labor with the proper medical care and the mother or baby is injured as a result, the hospital and/or staffers can be held liable for Florida medical malpractice.

Woman didn’t know she was pregnant, gives birth — now hospital is sued,, October 7, 2008
Characteristics of Women Who Deny or Conceal Pregnancy, Psychosomatics

Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice and Childbirth, WrongDiagnosis
American Pregnancy Association
University Community Hospital
Continue reading

At St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, tragedies struck two families earlier this month when similar medication mistakes led to one mother delivering stillborn twins and another baby being born born with brain damage. The hospital has admitted to the medication errors and has apologized to both families.

In the first incident,Sharee Davis checked into St. Mary’s on September 4 for a cerclage, which is a routine procedure that was supposed to prevent her from delivering her twins prematurely. She was just 17 weeks pregnant.

Instead, the medication the hospital gave her induced labor and Davis delivered stillborn twins, a boy and a girl. Davis and James Andrews, the boy’s father, say that they plan to sue St. Mary’s for medical malpractice.

In Palm Beach County, the rate of woman delivering their babies by cesarean section is now over 40%–almost twice as many women as the number of women giving birth by C-section 10 years ago. This figure is also a lot higher than the national figure of 31%. Now public health officials are wondering whether all of these women needed to give birth by C-section, a costly procedure that also comes with some risk.

Some local doctors say that the surgery is a safer option for them than the risk of a botched delivery that could lead to a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. The majority of obstetricians in the county no longer have liability coverage because it is too expensive.

Other obstetricians said the reasons they might opt to perform a C-section birth rather than go with natural delivery included:

• Decreasing the risks of a complicated pregnancy.
• The increase in fertility treatments usually results in twin (or more) pregnancies; this usually requires a C-section delivery.
• More older women are getting pregnant.
• Often, doctors will perform a C-section on a woman if her previous birth(s) required this procedure.
• Teen pregnancies may require a C-section delivery.
• Pregnant women that are obese may require a C-section delivery.
• More women want to avoid labor and/or schedule the date of birth.

Some doctors worry that denying a request by a pregnant woman to perform a C-section could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit if the baby is injured during natural delivery. In Martin County, where the majority of obstetricians are covered for malpractice, 15% less C-section procedures are performed than in Palm Beach County, Florida.

According to court information, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed against Palm Beach County obstetricians has dropped as the number of C-section procedures has increased. Although C-sections are now easier to recover from than they were two decades ago and they are generally designed to lower the risk of injury to the baby and mother, anesthesia and infection risks still exist. Having an earlier delivery by C-section can also affect the development of the baby and lead to feeding, breathing, and neurological problems for the infant.

Rise in C-sections stirs health worry, Palm Beach Post, August 23, 2008
Cesarean Fact Sheet,

Related Web Resource:

Birthing Defensive Mechanism: Medical Malpractice and Cesarean Sections in the United States, Continue reading

According to British researchers, the use of Topiramate, an anti-epilepsy drug, increases the chances of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects by up to 14-fold-especially when the drug is taken along with the drug Valproate. The study involved 203 women that became pregnant while taking Topiramate (Topamax is the brand name sold by Johnson & Johnson) alone or with other epilepsy medication.

Findings from the study included:

• 18 spontaneous abortions
• 5 induced abortions
• 2 stillbirths
• 178 births
• 16 infants were born with major birth defects
• 4 infants were born with cleft lips or palates
• 4 babies had genital birth defects

However, because the study involved only 203 women, experts have said that there is still statistical uncertainty related to this new data.

Topiramate has caused similar birth defects in animals. The fact that studies of other epilepsy drugs have revealed an increase in birth defect risks indicates that all of these drugs may affect the reproductive process.

Of the approximately 2.7 million Americans with epilepsy, Topamax makes up 1 out of every 5 prescriptions. Doctors say that even though there are risks involved with taking anti-epilepsy drugs, preventing epileptic seizures that would otherwise harm unborn babies-perhaps even more severely than the side effects that use of the drug can cause-is essential.

If you or someone you love was injured because of a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, you may be entitled to personal injury or wrongful death compensation. Drug manufacturers are supposed to test their medications before making them available to users and warn of any adverse side effects.

Our South Florida drug litigation law firm can determine whether you have grounds for a claim. If a drug maker or seller knowingly concealed risks, failed to conduct the proper and full product tests, or neglect to warn doctors and consumers of potential dangers, we know how to investigate any of these factors and prove your case.

Epilepsy drug Topamax linked to birth defects, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2008

Study links epilepsy drug to increased birth-defect risk, USA Today, July 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Epilepsy and Pregnant Women, Continue reading