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Oregon Hospital Hit with Three Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits

holding hands birth injury lawyerSilverton Hospital of Silverton, Oregon, faces accusations of cerebral palsy malpractice from three area families. The families all share similar stories; their children were born at the hospital, yet allegedly due to complications of labor and delivery, the youngsters suffered permanent brain damage, which caused cerebral palsy.

The three lawsuits are demanding about $100 million in compensatory damages, combined.

Two of the lawsuits name the same doctor

Two of the lawsuits filed against Silverton Hospital name the same doctor as a defendant, claiming he should be held liable for C-section mistakes and other medical errors during the labor and the delivery. In turn, the doctor and the hospital have denied all of the allegations contained in the complaint and the doctor claims that in performing the C-section, he was only responsible for the mother’s welfare, not the baby’s.

One of the families has stepped forward and released statements through the media. The family from Stayton was eagerly anticipating their first child in 2007, a boy. The mother had a prolonged labor and the nurses administered unspecified medications to hasten the delivery. Usually, in cases of a prolonged or complicated labor, a Cesarean section is ordered promptly to prevent the baby from suffering complications, such as oxygen deprivation to the brain. In this case, a C-section was not ordered for hours and the child appeared stillborn.

“He was white as paper,” said the father. “There was nothing there. His arms and legs fell as they spun him around so they could continue to help him.” In addition to failing to order a timely C-section, the hospital and doctors stand accused of failing to resuscitate the infant in a timely manner. Although the boy was indeed revived, he was diagnosed with permanent brain damage. When he was two, it was discovered that the brain damage led to cerebral palsy.

The boy is now six years old and suffers from debilitating complications that will last the rest of his life. He has poor development of his leg and arm muscles, speech difficulties, and psychological challenges. According to the family, the boy is expected to require lifelong treatments, such as surgeries, leg braces, and electrotherapy. The parents are demanding $40 million in compensation for medical expenses and ongoing care needs.

The other two families accusing Silverton Hospital of cerebral palsy malpractice haven’t stepped forward to speak with the media.

Although it was named as a top hospital in 2009 by Consumer Reports, it now has the dubious distinction of being named one of the most heavily penalized hospitals in Oregon by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. This status is based on poor patient satisfaction and death rates at the hospital.

Family offers advice to other expectant parents

The Stayton family decided to publicize the details of their tragic experience because they wished to help other expectant parents be prepared when going to the hospital for the labor and delivery. They recommend evaluating hospitals for the presence of a neonatal intensive care unit and advanced medical equipment, and asking lots of questions of the obstetrician before choosing the doctor and hospital. They further advise expectant parents to have a signed birth plan.