Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits in Maryland
If you believe that a doctor's mistake may have caused your child's cerebral palsy, you may want to seek compensation for both you and your child.
You may not know whether your child's cerebral palsy was caused by a medical mistake. While not all cases of cerebal palsy are caused by medical malpractice, many are and the results can be tragic.... and infurating because so much harm is caused. If you suspect that your child or a family member may have been injured at birth by a medical mistake that could have been prevented, our cerebral palsy lawyers at can help determine if your child may be entitled to compensation in a medical malpractice case. For more information, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation here.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that describes a group of chronic disorders that impair movement control in the early years of a child's life. In patients with cerebral palsy, messages between the brain and the rest of the body become scrambled. These scrambled messages can result in the wrong muscles doing the wrong job causing problems with walking, speech, balance, and coordination. Cerebral palsy is neither progressive or communicable. Some children with cerebral palsy are also affected by other medical disorders, but cerebral palsy does not always result in profound handicap. Regrettably, it is not curable. But though therapy and modern technology, people with cerebral palsy often lead productive and, more importantly, happy lives. There are a lot of great kids with cerebal palsy who are living great lives. But, more than most, they need help to pay for their care. This is where, when appropriate, malpractice lawsuits come into play.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy, Malpractice and Otherwise
The cause of this disorder varies. Many children with cerebral palsy have a congenital malformation of the brain, meaning that the malformation existed at birth and was not caused by factors occurring during the birthing process. For other children, their cerebral palsy was caused by brain damage sustained by the infant before, during or immediately after the baby's birth. This brain damage is often the result of lack of oxygen to the baby's brain or from a trauma during labor and delivery. This type of injury is often, but not always, caused by the medical malpractice of the physicians delivering the baby. This is a list of some of the potential medcial malpractice related causes of cerebral palsy:
- The child has problem getting enough oxygen after delivery
- Seizures shortly after delivery
- Lack of muscle tone or the child is dusky or blue
- Low APGAR score
- Significantly missing developmental milestones
- Inability to walk, or difficulty walking
There is no cure for cerebral palsy but technology and medical advices are doing some amazing things to improve the quality of life for people suffering from cerebral palsy.
Maryland Cerebral Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
2012 $55,000,000 Maryland Verdict – A 30 year old woman goes into labor at home, as planned for a home birth, with a midwife and two others present. After 2:00 a.m. complications arise when the birth progression stops. An ambulance is called around 2:35 a.m. An urgent C-section is ordered soon after her arrival, but is not performed for nearly two hours. The baby is born with permanent brain damage, multiple physical and mental disabilities, and cerebral palsy. Suit proceeds against Johns Hopkins Hospital. Plaintiffs claim that the hospital’s staff is negligent by taking an hour and 55 minutes to perform an urgent C-Section, and that all of the infant’s injuries were inflicted in the last 18 minutes. Defendant claims that all of the infant’s injuries occurred while Plaintiff was laboring at home under the care of the midwife, that the fetus was showing signs of distress shortly after 1:00 a.m. Defendant contends that all good standards of medical practice were followed, and that all times while Plaintiff labored at the hospital, her monitoring strips were reassuring indicating that the fetus was not suffering an acute injury at that time. The child, now three, requires 24-hour aid and attendant care, in addition to intense physical and occupational therapies for the rest of his life. It is noted that he will never walk or talk. The jury returns a verdict of $55 million. The non-economic damages are reduced according to Maryland statute from $26 million to $680,000. Damages for future lost wages are reduced from $4 million to $2,621,825. Plaintiffs stand to recover $28,301,825 in total, but the case is currently pending on appeal.
2012 $21,000,000 Maryland Verdict – Plaintiff presents at 31 weeks to the hospital with symptoms of high blood pressure and hypertension. She is connected to a fetal heart rate monitor and evaluated by a maternal fetal medicine specialist who instructs that a vaginal delivery is reasonable as long as the mother and fetus remain clinically stable. She cautions that if the patient’s clinical status worsens, or upon standard fetal indication, delivery should be performed via C-Section. Plaintiff was kept overnight and started on labor-inducing medication the next morning. Plaintiff contends that prior to noon, the fetal heart rate was reassuring with minimal to moderate variability, but that after noon, the heart rate became non-reassuring with late and prolonged variable decelerations. Plaintiff further contends that per the maternal fetal medicine specialist’s recommendation and the applicable standard of care, a timely C-section was to be performed. The infant was born at approximately 5:13 p.m. with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. He was pale and lifeless. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Plaintiffs contend that the labor was allowed to continue for an additional three hours, unnecessarily and wrongly. Defendants contend that the infant’s Apgar score, taken five minutes post-birth, was normal and so were the blood gases taken shortly after birth. Defendants further contend that the ultrasound taken of the head three days post-birth was normal and that if there had been any brain damage from asphyxia at birth, it would have shown up on the ultrasound, since the brain swells, but the scan was normal. Defendants allege that problems did not show until 10 to 14 days after the infants birth, thereby demonstrating that the injury occurred post-birth and was due to prematurity, not anything to do with the delivery. The jury sided with the Plaintiffs and awarded $18,000,000 in future medical costs; $2,000,000 in future lost earnings capability; and $1,000,000 in non-economic damages.
- 2009 $3,991,000 Maryland Verdict – Plaintiff, 36 weeks pregnant, presents to the hospital with complaints of diarrhea, pain, and vomiting. Approximately three hours after she is admitted, it is determined that the fetal heart rate is 30, and an emergency C-section is performed. The infant had to be revived Immediately upon birth, but suffers brain damage and is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Plaintiff files suit against the emergency room doctor and the treating OB/GYN alleging that the doctors were negligent in failing to properly monitor the fetal heart beat. Plaintiffs allege that the ER doctor did not evaluate the mother’s condition, even though he had been informed of her arrival 45 minutes after she got to the hospital, and further allege that the OB/GYN was informed of Plaintiff’s condition two hours after she arrived at the hospital, but failed to evaluate her. Plaintiffs further allege that a placental abruption occurred long before a C-Section deliver was decided, and that an earlier delivery would have prevented the child’s brain damage. Defendants deny Plaintiffs allegations and contend that the placental abruption occurred 15 to 20 minutes before the C-section. The jury agrees with the Plaintiffs and award $300,000 for non-economic damages; $71,000 for past medicals, $2,870,000 in future medicals; and $750,000 for future lost income.
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Hiring an Attorney for Your Child's Claim
If you believe your child has cerebral palsy as the result of medical malpractice and want to speak with a Maryland cerebral palsy lawyer, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.