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Woman sues hospital for botched delivery of breeched baby

Michael Becker

Ohio residents may be aware that in recent years cesarean sections have become a more and more common method for delivering babies. Cesarean surgeries do involve risks to both the baby and the mother, and as a result many hospitals have now taken steps to reduce the instances of C-sections.

In certain situations, it is still generally recommended that doctors perform C-sections rather than deliver a baby vaginally. This is true when babies are breeched – or positioned buttocks or feet first. Some doctors do still deliver breeched babies vaginally, and one hospital on the west coast even advertises this as one of its specialties. That hospital was recently sued, however, after such a birth resulted in serious birth injuries.

The hospital is the Oregon Health & Science University, and it states on its website that it specializes in vaginal breech deliveries. One woman decided to undergo such a delivery at the hospital in September 2011.

During the delivery, her son suffered brain damage due to multiple mistakes made by the hospital’s staff, according to a lawsuit the woman has now filed.

According the lawsuit, the woman was told that the delivery would change to C-section if it became medically necessary, but when complications did occur during labor, doctors continued with the vaginal delivery. The complications included the baby’s abnormal heart rate.

After his birth, the baby boy was diagnosed with both cerebral palsy and brain injury due to being deprived of oxygen during the labor.

The family is suing the hospital and specific physicians, requesting more than $25 million.

While it is not possible to predict the outcome of this lawsuit, it stands as an example of the severe injuries that can be caused by the failure to perform a C-section in a timely manner. Those who experience birth injuries here in Ohio should seek legal counsel to learn whether it is possible to hold a negligent party responsible for medical malpractice.

Source: The Oregonian, “OHSU faces $25.6 million malpractice lawsuit over vaginal delivery of breech baby,” Helen Jung, Sept. 24, 2013

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