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Parents claim son's cerebral palsy caused by malpractice

Expectant North Carolina parents hope and pray for a healthy baby. Even when everything goes well during the pregnancy, the stress of the labor and delivery can lead to complications. Sometimes the complications are just part of childbirth, but in some cases they are caused by the doctors' negligence. An Oregon couple is suing a hospital, three doctors and two clinics for allegedly causing their son's cerebral palsy.

The boy, now 6, was born in December 2007. He was 15 days overdue, so doctors induced labor. His mother was given drugs, with the dosage continually increased for 11 hours. Finally, his mom was told to start pushing, but the baby wasn't ready. This caused distress, with the boy's heartbeat decreasing to 60 beats per minute.

The boy was then delivered by C-section. He was born unable to breathe because he had inhaled his own feces after the stress caused him to defecate during the delivery. Because the hospital had no neonatal intensive care unit, the boy had to be transferred to another hospital. While at the other hospital, the boy's parents learned that 20 percent of his brain was damaged. At age 2, the boy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The parents found that their son had suffered from a lack of oxygen during the birth. This contributes to as many as 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases. The couple has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and is seeking $40 million in damages. The trial is set for January 2015.

It can be devastating for a mother to carry a healthy baby to term, only to have him or her suffer complications due to the negligence of medical staff. A cerebral palsy diagnosis can mean a lifetime of medical care, which can lead to hefty medical expenses. A lawsuit might help the couple recover compensation to provide their son with the medical care he needs.

Source: Statesman Journal, "Lawsuit over birth injury: Misfortune or malpractice?" Saerom Yoo, May. 25, 2014

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