Severe Birth Injury Leads to $12.6 Million Verdict for Family in Philadelphia Case
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on December 1st, 2012
The family of a boy who suffered severe brain damage during childbirth in Philadelphia in 2009 was awarded a $12.6 million verdict after a jury ruled that the negligence of their midwife contributed to the baby’s injuries.
The child, Braydon Hoffer, the son of Roseann and Donald Hoffer, suffered from a lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs when a part of the umbilical cord was delivered before the boy’s birth was underway on April 20, 2009, according to a Nov. 27 story in The Legal Intelligencer. The condition, known as umbilical cord prolapse, occurs when the umbilical cord prematurely exits the mother before the actual birth. The obstructed cord then can cut off or limit oxygen and blood flow to the as yet unborn fetus.
An ultrasound a week earlier showed that the baby was in a breech position, but the midwife, Carol O’Donoghue, did not immediately schedule an emergency cesarean section to deliver the breech baby at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, according to the lawsuit. The midwife also did not warn the couple about the risk of umbilical cord prolapse, the lawsuit stated.
“In the early morning hours of April 20, the Hoffers awoke to find the umbilical cord between Roseann Hoffer’s legs,” the story reported. “They quickly went to the hospital and Braydon was born via an emergency C-section. He required resuscitation and mechanical ventilation and now suffers severe and permanent brain damage, according to court documents.”
The lawsuit alleged that the midwife “should have consulted with a physician before deciding how to handle the fact that the baby was now breech, a situation they argued turned the pregnancy from low-risk to high-risk,” according to the story.
A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury found the midwife to be negligent by an 11-1 vote on Nov. 2 and decided that her negligence caused the boy’s injuries, the story reported. The Hoffers were awarded damages of $1.5 million for future loss of earnings, $3 million in future non-economic damages and $450,000 a year in future medical costs and expenses for 18 years, totaling $12.6 million. The boy is now three years old.
This heartbreaking case is a reminder about the complications and medical errors that can arise during childbirth, as well as about how medical mistakes can have catastrophic consequences for a family.
Doctors can make critical mistakes, midwives, hospitals and nursing staffs can introduce errors in patient care and other problems can arise during births, leaving a family unsure of their legal options and responsibilities.
When a fetus doesn’t get oxygen during childbirth as a result of complications, the baby can suffer an anoxic brain injury, which is an irreversible injury caused by a lack of oxygen.
If that occurs, and the child survives, the baby will likely have brain damage.
These kinds of incidents are tragic beyond belief. When they happen, they require thorough and detailed records examinations by experienced attorneys who specialize in such cases so that families can secure financial damages to pay for the long-term care of children who are injured at birth.
When such mistakes occur, the negligence of these doctors and medical facilities must be punished through the payment of damages for injury, pain and suffering, loss of future income, and more. If your child has been injured during the birthing process, you may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical care. You may also receive compensation for suffering and loss of quality of life due to the birth injury.
The three most common ways a birth injury occurs are:
*Oxygen deprivation to the child during the birthing process.
*So-called “traction injuries” if an infant child is pulled or harmed by medical staff during the birthing process.
*If a mother is prescribed medications during a pregnancy or toward the end of the pregnancy which can have negative effects on the baby.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer deal with these kinds of cases regularly and we stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a birth injury case anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that your child gets the proper medical care needed to maximize the child’s potential from that point forward.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.