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Birth injury results in $8.5 million dollar award

Childbirth is a joyous experience. Unfortunately, things do not always go as planned. When something does go wrong such as a birth injury it is important to ask why. Sometimes birth injuries or delivery errors are hard to avoid, other times they are not. If the injury is in fact an avoidable error it is important to hold the party at fault responsible for their actions.

Maryland parents might be interested to learn about a recent finding by an Ohio court. A civil court recently found MetroHealth Medical Center liable for the negligent treatment of a newborn baby in 2009. The incident stems from a decision made by a nurse who tried to resuscitate the new baby on her own after she observed that the child was not breathing.

According the family's attorney, hospital procedure calls for the nurse to immediately call the neonatologist if a child is born not breathing. The lawsuit also alleged that the nurse tried to cover the fact that she did not follow procedure after the fact. The nurse allegedly altered the APGAR scores, which reflect the child's vital signs in the moments after birth.

The medical center continues to insist that hospital staff acted appropriately under the circumstances. Regardless, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the family for $8.5 million dollars following three days of deliberation. The hospital may appeal the verdict.

The quality and expectation of care in a given circumstance can vary dramatically depending on the procedure. Establishing a standard of care can be complicated, and often requires expert testimony. In a medical malpractice case the goal is to show that the care provided fell beneath this standard, or that the practitioner failed to follow established procedures.

Source: WJW-TV, "Millions Awarded in Hospital Negligence Suit," Jack Shea, Aug. 25, 2012

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