It is a sad reality that babies are born every day with injuries and birth defects that are direct results of medical malpractice. Medical errors can lead to brain injuries, nerve damage, oxygen deprivation, and other complications that can have life-long effects for the innocent child. In the context of the delivery room, there are a few errors that stand out as both particularly common and particularly dangerous. These include:
- Failure to diagnose – when doctors fail to timely identify conditions and risk factors that affect the delivery
- Improper administration of Pitocin – when doctors unnecessarily or improperly dose the mother with Pitocin (a synthetic form of oxytocin) to induce labor or speed up the delivery process
Two recent lawsuits filed by Ohio parents demonstrate the real-life consequences of these costly forms of medical malpractice.
Ohio State Hospital Agrees to Record Settlement for Birthing Errors
In a case settled in 2013, Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center agreed to pay $5.25 million to a mother whose baby suffered severe brain injuries due to medical errors during delivery. This was the hospital’s second-highest settlement ever, and its highest ever resulting from birth-related injuries.
During the course of the trial, the Ohio Court of Claims found that the delivering physician made a critical error in taking too long to diagnose the need for an emergency C-section. Two other doctors also testified that the mother received a dangerous dose of Pitocin, which decreased her baby’s supply of oxygen during delivery. These errors left baby Ayub with severe brain injuries that continue to require constant medical care.
Pitocin Errors Lead to Permanent Brain Damage
In a similar but unrelated case, an Ohio couple recently filed suit against several defendants arising out of brain injuries their son allegedly suffered as a result of medical errors during his delivery. The lawsuit alleges that the mother was experiencing tachystole – excessively-frequent contractions – yet, her healthcare providers still chose to administer Pitocin. They allegedly continued to augment her delivery with Pitocin even while her tachystole continued throughout the birthing process.
The parents also allege that several risk factors presented during the delivery that warranted an emergency C-section. However, the caregivers apparently allowed the mother to proceed to a vaginal delivery.
Following the delivery, the couple’s son was diagnosed with severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. HIE is a form of brain damage that results from oxygen deprivation during childbirth. It is commonly associated with Pitocin errors and failure to diagnose complications during pregnancy, and is a leading cause of significant cognitive impairments and infant mortality. Cerebral palsy is also commonly linked with HIE.
While the case remains pending, if the allegations prove to be true the parents are likely to recover significant damages for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
As both of these cases demonstrate, simple medication errors and split-second mistakes can lead to life-altering injuries and birth defects. To learn more about common forms of prenatal and neonatal malpractice, call BirthInjuryJustice.org at (440) 252-4399 or contact us online today. One of our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys will be happy to schedule a free consultation.