Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Childbirth Result in Ever-Growing PayoutsMay 3, 2018
Medical science has done much in the last century to improve the likelihood that mothers and babies will survive childbirth and go on to lead healthy lives. The vast majority of U.S. babies are born in hospitals, surrounded by specialists, nursing teams, and the best equipment available.
Yet, medical errors are made during childbirth every day that lead to unnecessary complications, birth injuries, and even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 60 percent of maternal deaths following hospital births could have been prevented. Similarly, the government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality postulates that almost 50 percent of birth injuries are avoidable.
Patients with avoidable negative birth outcomes have been speaking up, and it seems the courts are listening.
Landmark Payouts Are Being Awarded in Maternal Death Cases
According to the World Health Organization, it is about twice as likely that a mother will die following childbirth in the United States than it is in Canada or the United Kingdom. American mothers are four times more likely to die from childbirth than mothers in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden or Finland. What’s more, a recent NPR special series that was six months in the making suggests that U.S. maternal mortality rates might be almost double what the WHO statistics report. Many families of deceased new mothers impugn the quality of healthcare they received from hospitals, citing negligence and diagnostic errors. Successful lawsuits of this kind frequently lead to seven- and eight-figure legal settlements.
In recent months, a Minnesota court awarded $20 million to the family of Nicole Bermingham, who died in 2013 shortly after she gave birth to her son at a Minneapolis hospital. After mother and baby were discharged, Bermingham returned to the hospital with classic signs of sepsis. An ER nurse ignored her laboratory results and sent her home, telling her she had a urinary tract infection—even though a urine test proved the theory false. Bermingham was dead within hours. The $20 million which the jury in the case awarded to her family is thought to be the largest wrongful death settlement in Minnesota’s history.
Another pending maternal death case involves the family of Lauren Bloomstein, who died after giving birth to a daughter at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey in 2017. Bloomstein was a neo-natal nurse at the facility. Her husband, a doctor, is suing the hospital because her OB-GYN reportedly insisted Bloomstein had acid reflux when she should have been diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a rare variant of pre-eclampsia involving liver failure and extremely high blood pressure. After the staff failed to take Bloomstein’s blood pressure for more than eight hours, she had a hemorrhagic stroke and died.
Some of the leading causes of maternal death that are largely preventable with current medical knowledge and technology are hemorrhage, infection, mental health conditions, pre-eclampsia, and blood disorders.
The #1 Cause of Birth Injuries: Communication Errors Among the Birthing Team
In recent years, multiple settlements in excess of $20 million have been awarded to U.S. children who have suffered from preventable birth injuries. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 28,000 babies are born with birth injuries every year, and about half of those are preventable. The department also reports that the most common cause of all birth injuries is communication errors among the birthing team.
Many of the worst birth injuries occurring in hospitals today involve unnecessary oxygen deprivation to infants. Common care mistakes include missed signs of fetal distress, delayed Caesarian sections, improper resuscitation techniques, misuse of labor-inducing drugs, and the unnecessary use of forceps or vacuum extraction. Perinatal asphyxia, intracranial hemorrhage, facial paralysis, spinal cord damage, and cerebral palsy are among the most frequent serious birth injuries reported.
In 2016, an Illinois jury awarded the largest birth injury settlement in U.S. history to a Cook County boy with cerebral palsy. Isaiah Ewing received $53 million from University of Chicago Medical Center because it was deemed the mismanagement of his birth led to a serious brain injury. He is unable to feed or clothe himself and will need the funds for his lifelong round-the-clock care.
Also in 2016, a mother in Bend, Oregon launched a $9 million lawsuit for the wrongful death of her daughter at St. Charles Family Birthing Center. Angela Marchant, an urgent care nurse, claims that a 30-minute delay of what was supposed to be an emergency C-section after her two-day labor caused her daughter to be born brain dead. The baby was taken off life support when she was two days old. The 30-minute delay occurred, according to Marchant, while the hospital processed her consent forms.
If you or a loved one has been injured during a mismanaged birth, or if you have lost a loved one because of a mismanaged birth, you should call a personal injury lawyer so that you discuss your case for compensation. If you initiate a lawsuit and are concerned about paying the bills as you wage your legal battle for justice, your next call should be to USClaims.
At USClaims, we don’t offer litigation loans or litigation financing; we offer pre-settlement funding. We purchase a portion of the proceeds of an anticipated court settlement or judgement. That means injured people and their families will never be at financial risk of having to pay back a high-cost loan if their civil suit is unsuccessful. USClaims gets paid only if the plaintiff wins the case or reaches a settlement. Call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS for a consultation.