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Army hospital to pay $9M for birth injuries suffered by child

When an Illinois woman goes into labor, she is trusting that the doctors attending to her know what they are doing and can handle any eventuality that might occur. If something happens that a doctor might not be able to handle alone, the family expects the doctor to bring in another physician in order to ensure that the mother and child are not harmed. If a doctor waits too long to ask for help, or fails to ask for help at all, birth injuries can occur to the mother and/or child.

Waiting too long to get assistance was a factor in a claim made by a family whose child now suffers from cerebral palsy due to mistakes made during the birth. The mother of the child went to a hospital in her area that was aware of her medical history, which included the likelihood that her uterus could rupture. On Sept. 7, 2010, she went to the hospital to have her baby.

The attending doctor was a first-year resident and did not have the appropriate experience to deal with a high-risk birth. At some point, the woman's uterus did rupture. The resident working at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii failed to call for help from another doctor who was more experienced.

The attending nurse is the one who made the call. The delay left the infant deprived of oxygen from which he suffered brain damage. He will most likely need help for the rest of his life due to cerebral palsy.

The family hopes that the $9 million settlement will take care of the child's expenses as long as is needed. As some Illinois parents already know, birth injuries can rob an infant of his or her future and put a significant financial burden on the parents. Even though most parents of disabled children are willing to take on that burden, restitution from a successfully litigated medical malpractice claim could help relieve some of it.

Source: khon2.com, "Tripler to pay $9 million in medical malpractice settlement", Feb. 5, 2016

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