Birth injury leads to $4,750,000 settlement
The A.W. Smith Law Firm, P.C. attorney, Aaron W. Smith, of Columbia, Missouri, obtained a $4.75 million settlement on behalf of a severely injured child. In August of 2007, a 27 year old female presented to defendant hospital for the delivery of her first child. Upon admission, plaintiff came under the care of a defendant doctor and defendant nurse whose names must remain confidential. The decision was made to induce plaintiff’s labor as she was beyond forty weeks gestation. Plaintiffs’ labor commenced later that evening. To monitor the health of the baby during labor, the defendants utilized an electronic fetal monitor. An electronic fetal monitor creates a telemetric strip that allows health care providers to observe the baby’s heart rate in relation to the contractions of the mother. Careful monitoring of a baby’s heart rate can show obstetricians and obstetrical nurses whether the baby is receiving an adequate amount of oxygen and assists health care providers in determining when an emergency Caesarian section delivery is warranted. According to plaintiffs, the fetal monitoring strips showed dangerous patterns for hours prior to delivery, indicating that the baby was not receiving sufficient oxygen and was at risk for developing a severe and debilitating brain injury. The plaintiffs further alleged that, despite the obvious and ominous signs, the defendants proceeded as if everything were normal. The failure to appreciate the baby’s distress and deliver it by Caesarian section in a timely fashion, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys, caused the baby to sustain injuries that have left him severely brain damaged and in need of twenty-four hour a day care for the remainder of his life. Smith filed a lawsuit against the obstetrician and obstetrical nurse that managed the plaintiff’s labor and delivery, in addition to the hospital where the baby was delivered. The plaintiff’s attorneys retained experts in the fields of obstetrics, pediatric neurology, neuroradiology, physiatry and obstetrical nursing. The plaintiffs’ experts were prepared to testify that the defendant obstetrician and nurse deviated from acceptable standards of care in not appreciating the dangerous signs on the fetal monitoring strip and in failing to deliver the baby by emergency Caesarian section when it became clear that the baby was being deprived of oxygen. Plaintiffs’ experts were further prepared to testify that these standard of care deviations were the sole cause of the baby’s injuries. The parties participated in a mediation and settled the case shortly after the mediation had concluded for $4,750,000.00. As a result of the settlement, the plaintiff can now afford to receive the medical treatment he needs as a result of his injuries.