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Landmark win in birth injury case

Just like any other medical procedure, things can go wrong during the birth process. Yet, some of the injuries that occur could have been avoided had a doctor acted has he or she was supposed to act. Serious disabilities may result for children that are injured as a result of doctor negligence or error. Birth injuries for Michigan families are an unfortunate reality, but it is at least reassuring to know that a form of justice can be reached and negligent health care providers can be held accountable for their mistakes.

One family of a teenage girl in New York recently won $100 million in a lawsuit against the hospital where she was born. The teenager, now 17-years-old, suffers from cerebral palsy because she was born three months premature. The family alleges that failures by the hospital led to the birth injury.

Born with a healthy twin sister, the suit claimed that the hospital failed to give proper care by not recognizing that the mother was having contractions before labor, and by not preventing the premature delivery. These errors allegedly caused the brain injury.

The night of the birth, the girl's mother went to the hospital, but the staff didn't listen to her and sent her home. When born later that evening, the girl weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces.

The jury decided that the hospital should pay $60 million for future pain and suffering and $17 million for pain and suffering already incurred. The rest of the roughly $103 million award will go toward lost wages and future medical costs.

Two doctors were also named in the lawsuit, but they were not found individually liable.

Lawsuits that target OB-GYN or hospital error can never truly make patients or their family whole, especially where the injuries are life-long. But as the family stated in this case, the mom always felt like she did something wrong and an award relieves some of that guilt and may bring peace of mind. An Ann Arbor birth injury lawyer can be an asset in getting results for Michigan families faced with similar circumstances

Source: New York Post, "Family of SI cerebral palsy teen wins $100M lawsuit against birth hospital," Josh Saul, Aug. 25, 2012

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