A jury in Port Townsend, Washington, has awarded a family $23.9 million after a baby suffered slow suffocation during labor and ended up with permanent brain damage. Business Wire reported on the matter.
The jury believed the story of the plaintiffs. They said that workers ignored several signs that their baby was having trouble breathing due to the umbilical cord wrapping around the child’s neck. When the baby came out, she was blue and needed a lot of medical intervention to survive.
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The attorneys argued that the fetal heart monitor, which could have been used to catch the problem early, was connected to the mother instead of the baby for the last three hours of the labor. That negligence caused the doctors to miss the problem. Now the baby will have to deal with brain damage for the rest of her life.
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Expert witnesses also testified that standard protocols for preventing this error were not followed. For instance, the mother’s heart rate could be taken at intervals and compared with the fetal monitor to ensure they aren’t identical. They also failed to notice that the heart rate was increasing with each contraction. This is common in mothers but unusual in babies.
The child, now six years old, cannot dress or feed herself, but she has managed to learn to walk. The money should help her deal with her medical needs.