Brain Injury During Birth Leads to $4.3 Million Dollar Settlement

Earlier this year, the parents of a child who suffered permanent brain damage during childbirth settled their medical negligence case against Mercy Medical Center, located in Canton, Connecticut for $4.3 million dollars. The parents, Jared and Crystal Rinker, had filed the medical negligence suit on behalf of their daughter, Jordan, alleging that physicians at the hospital failed to recognize clear signs of fetal distress and hyperstimulation of the mother's uterus.  Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that on March 13, 2008, Crystal Rinker was admitted to the hospital to deliver Jordan.  She was administered Pitocin.

Pitocin is a medication that increases the frequency and intensity of uterine contractions, essentially inducing delivery of the baby.   The medication is given through an IV and the dosage is regulated by a pump.  Whenever Pitocin is used, it is understood that the well-being of both the mother and the fetus must be monitored carefully.  Pitocin is the synthetic brand name of the labor hormone, Oxytocin.   It is well known, however, that one of the side effects of Pitocin is that it decreases the supply of blood and oxygen to the baby.  Accordingly, when Pitocin is administered, it is important to monitor the baby carefully for changes in its condition.  Moreover, delivery must occur within a certain amount of time so as to avoid the likelihood of injury to the baby.  In short, if the labor is stalled, health care providers should intervene to prevent the mother and/or baby from developing an infection and/or sepsis. 

In this case, as the day wore on, Mrs. Rinker received several more doses of Pitocin, into the evening and the early morning hours of the following day.  Notwithstanding these medications, Mrs. Rinker failed to deliver Jordan.  At issue in the case was the fact that physicians failed to recognize that Jordan was in distress in utero.  At approximately 5:00 a.m. the following morning, the fetal heart monitor indicated that Jordan had an extremely low heart rate, which in turn, leads to a decreased amount of blood flow/oxygen to the brain.  She was taken to the emergency room where Jordan was born, via cesarean section, 20 minutes later.  Upon delivery, Jordan was unresponsive.  A neonatal team was able to resuscitate her.  Because of the prolonged period of time in which she went with decreased and/or no oxygen, Jordan suffered irreversible and permanent brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy and other developmental delays.  She will require care for the rest of her life. 

At STSW, our lawyers routinely handle medical negligence / malpractice cases involving injuries to newborn infants at Baltimore and Washington D.C. hospitals.  In many of these cases, the child has developed significant developmental delays, including cerebral palsy.  These injuries, in turn, result in parents being faced with the need to provide a lifetime of care to their child, a burden that is  not often lifted.  This is why it is paramount that if your child has been victimized by negligence at the time of his/her delivery, you retain a skilled legal team such as the one at STSW to represent your interests and pursue the appropriate damages award to enable you to care for your child for their lifetime.  Call the lawyers at at STSW for a free consultation at 410-385-2225.