At first glance, the 7-year-old boy appears healthy, with bright blue eyes, long limbs and blondish hair. But his parents say the depth of his disabilities are still being discovered, as each developmental stage brings additional challenges.
Suffering from cerebral palsy, he will likely need a brace on his right leg for the rest of his life. His frontal lobe – the part of his brain that aids in socialization, decision-making and emotions, as well as portions of the brain that control motor skills, hearing and vision – sustained 20 percent damage. The cause, his parents allege in their $40 million lawsuit, was a lack of oxygen at birth caused by OBGYN’s failure to appropriately respond to clear fetal distress.
While $40 million may seem a staggering amount, it’s worth noting the brain damage is permanent, and he will likely require ongoing care the rest of his life. And his injuries, according to plaintiffs in Ramseyer v. Dalisky, were 100 percent preventable.
Plaintiffs say by all accounts, the child’s mother had a healthy pregnancy. She chose her obstetrician – defendant doctor – based on positive site reviews and recommendations from acquaintances. Although she wanted to try to give birth without drugs, she conceded she would be fine with an epidural and she was Ok with a Cesarean section if it became necessary.
She went to the hospital for an induction when she was 15 days overdue. She was given drugs to induce labor, and over the course of 11 hours, staff continued to increase her dosage. Eventually, she was instructed to begin pushing. However, baby’s head wasn’t positioned correctly at the cervix, and this resulted in fetal distress. The fetus’s heart rate dropped to 60 beats per minute over the course of the next six minutes.
This was when the doctor decided to deliver via emergency C-section. The child was born after having inhaled his own fecal matter, called meconium. This is not uncommon for babies who have been in distress. But the child was unable to breathe. The nursing staff worked to resuscitate him before attempting to clear his airway of the meconium. Baby was stabilized and transported to another hospital equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit. It wasn’t until then they learned the child had suffered brain damage as a likely result of oxygen deprivation.
The couple says they were never told during the birth process the child was in danger. There was never a discussion by the hospital either, and they only learned the possibility that their son’s condition could be caused by medical malpractice as a result of reading about it on the Internet.
The March of Dimes reports 800,000 people in the U.S. have cerebral palsy, and about 10 percent of those are attributable to deprivation of oxygen at birth. When injuries occur as a result of birth complications, it’s imperative to consult with an experienced team of Spartanburg birth injury lawyers.
Failure to clear the throat of meconium before resuscitation could lead to complications, according to doctors interviewed by the Statesman Journal, the Oregon newspaper covering the trial. Additionally, medical teams need to expect that babies in stressful births might inhale meconium and anticipate an appropriate response to that possibility.
Contact our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Trial begins in Ramseyer birth injury case, Jan. 21, 2015, By Saerom Yoo, Statesman Journal
More Blog Entries:
Millea v. Erikson: Duty of Care in South Carolina Wrongful Death Cases, July 11, 2015, South Carolina Birth Injury Lawyer Blog