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$33.8M in damages awarded for obstetrican's medical negligence

For most expectant mothers in Washington, D.C., the birth of their child is a time of excitement and joy. How upsetting to imagine, then, if this jubilant occasion was marred when a doctor's gross medical negligence resulted in injury to the infant. In another state, this is apparently just what happened.

A medical malpractice suit resulted in a $33.8 million judgment after a federal judge decided that an obstetrician's negligence directly resulted in the permanent brain damage of a newborn. The complaint alleges that, instead of performing a C-section, the defendant told nurses to re-administer a contraction-strengthening drug before repeatedly leaving the room for extended periods of time. He then falsified medical records in an attempt to make it appear as though the mother had refused the C-section that might have prevented brain injury to her child.

The mother's pregnancy was not considered high risk, and the court decided that the obstetrician's careless actions resulted in oxygen and blood deprivation to the baby's brain. During uterine contractions, blood supply to infants' brains decreases. The drug this doctor administered, Pitocin, is used to induce strong contractions, and he administered it at full strength for over an hour. In addition, expert witnesses agreed that, had the defendant carried out a C-section, the baby likely would not have suffered the serious brain damage he did.

The judge awarded damages of $3.3 million to the baby's parents, in addition to the $21.7 million for economic damages. For the family's pain and suffering, the judge also awarded a combined total of $8.7 million. While the money can in no way make up for the loss of their child's health, the family can at least now hope to have enough funds to cover the cost of the extensive long-term medical treatments the boy will likely require throughout his life. Residents of Washington, D.C., who have suffered similar tragic instances due to a doctor's medical negligence have the legal right to seek the counsel of an attorney with experience in birth injury medical malpractice cases like this one.

Source: crimeonline.com, "Judge awards $33.8 million in malpractice suit after doctor's phone call leads to baby's permanent brain damage", Jacquelyn Gray, May 1, 2017

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