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Negligent Handling of Fetal Distress Leads to Cerebral Palsy

Earlier this year, the family of a child born with preventable cerebral palsy requiring 24 hour care settled a multi-million dollar medical malpractice lawsuit against a California hospital. In the lawsuit, the baby's parents argued that during the mother's delivery, the fetal monitor showed non-reassuring signs over the course of several hours, including heart rate abnormalities. Specifically, it was alleged that the mother experienced a condition known as uterine tachysystole in which excessively frequent uterine contractions occur. Uterine tachysystole is defined as experiencing 6 contractions in a 10 minute period. It is often associated with placental abruption and other abnormalities that can be injurious or fatal to the fetus. In the subject case, a nurse notified the treating obstetrician of the frequent contractions and the physician reviewed the fetal monitoring strips but did not re-evaluate the mother, thereby missing the opportunity to see that the baby was in trouble. The child was born in a depressed condition with Apgar scores of 3 at 1 minute and 6 at 5 minutes. The parents alleged that the hospital and doctor should have delivered the baby via cesarean section much earlier than the child was delivered. Had the baby been delivered timely, the family argued the injuries would not have occurred. The defense countered that the child's injuries had already occurred by the time the mother arrived to the hospital and that the doctor's delay in delivering did not cause any injury.

As a result of the negligence, the child requires round the clock care for the rest of his life. The claimed damages in the case exceeded $20 million. The settlement was confidential.

At STSW our lawyers have successfully handled several medical malpractice / medical negligence cases in which babies suffered significant injuries due to a failure to properly monitor the baby for distress and/or a failure to timely delivery the infant. If you or a loved one has suffered a similar type of injury in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, call our legal team for a free consultation at (410) 385-2225.

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