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Family receives record brain injury verdict

A negligent birth injury can cause a lifetime of medical problems and extreme financial need. A birth injury case, however, can help alleviate some of these problems. In Chicago, a jury awarded a record-setting $53 million after finding that negligent healthcare caused birth injuries to an infant who displayed fetal distress symptoms.

Twelve years ago, the child's mother underwent labor at the University of Chicago without receiving supervision or follow-up by the medical staff. The plaintiffs alleged that the child remained in fetal distress for over 12 hours without an appropriate response from the hospital. Fetal distress can cause severe brain injuries to an infant if the brain is deprived of oxygen and other important nutrients.

It also charged that the hospital administration did not provide an explanation of the quality of care that was provided and the injuries that were suffered or assume responsibility or apologize for its staff members' negligent acts. The child's mother testified that the hospital staff told flagrant lies about the care that was provided and did not act with integrity.

Now 12-years-old, the child is unable to talk or walk and may stay physically and mentally impaired for the rest of his life. He may also have a shortened life span which is common among children who have neurological disorders.

The jury found that the limited care provided by the hospital staff was the primary cause of the child's injuries and that he was under limited supervision for a half-day. Its staff inattention and failure to check-in on the patient prevented detection of fetal distress symptoms and emergency care, according to the jury. It awarded $53 million for past and future medical expenses and for the loss of opportunity, a diminished quality of life and a shorter life.

The University of Chicago has appealed the case. It argued that the child is afflicted with cerebral palsy from an infection contracted during the mother's pregnancy and not by oxygen deprivation during birth.

As this case illustrates, families in Texas confront evidentiary, medical and legal burdens in proving these case. An attorney can help assure that families receive just and reasonable compensation for injuries.

Source: The National Law Review, "http://www.natlawreview.com/article/birth-injury-lawsuit-sees-record-recovery-brain-injured-child," By Jonathan Rosenfeld, Dec. 12, 2016

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