According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, one in 33 babies are born in the United States with birth defects, some of which may be lethal. The CDC also reports that in some years, birth defects have accounted for over 139,000 hospital stays and $2.6 billion in hospital costs. These costs do not include the emotional toll on the families.
Most birth defects are the result of factors unrelated to medical malpractice, including genetics, premature births, and alcohol and drugs taken during the pregnancy. However, there are instances when birth defects do result from malpractice
Malpractice can occur anytime during the pregnancy, delivery or post-delivery, and can result from the negligent actions or inactions of doctors, nurses, hospital staff and other health care providers.
Common birth defects resulting from medical malpractice include:
Brain damage: Severe mental and functional impairment resulting from a prolonged loss of oxygen to the brain
Cerebral palsy: Motor function impairment, including weak muscles, undeveloped limbs and paralysis resulting from a prolonged loss of oxygen to the brain, or an untreated infection suffered by the mother and/or baby in utero
Shoulder dystocia or Erb’s palsy/ Klumpke’s Palsy: Nerve damage caused to the arms, often as a result of excessive compression while exiting the birth canal, or other delivery issues
Izzy Peterson, tragically suffered severe brain damage after a Tripler Army Medical Center doctor mistakenly gave him carbon dioxide instead of oxygen right after delivery. Due to our successful representation, the court awarded Izzy's family nearly $16.5 million in what may be the largest single-verdict award to any individual in the state of Hawaii. Importantly, this case has prompted hospitals like Tripler to take steps against this type of error ever happening again.