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Delayed C-Section Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

birth injury lawsuitEach year, thousands of parents who have eagerly awaited the births of their children are told that those infants have suffered birth injuries. Birth injuries may lead to permanent, debilitating disabilities. In some cases, they may even be fatal.

One family has filed a birth injury lawsuit against a Los Angeles-area hospital and its healthcare professionals for allegedly making medical errors that caused the death of their newborn son. The mother and husband filed the complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles on October 3, 2013.

Emergency C-section required

The plaintiffs, who live in Los Angeles County, have named Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and one of its doctors as the defendants in this birth injury lawsuit. According to the complaint, the expectant mother was admitted to the hospital on March 5, 2013 after she began experiencing labor pains. The healthcare professionals performed a fetal heart monitoring test and determined that, at that time, the baby’s heart rate was within the normal range. However, barely an hour later, the baby’s heart rate dropped from 100 beats per minute to just 60. One minute after this was observed, the attending nurse noted a further drop to the 50’s.

Signs of fetal distress such as this require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals to preserve the health of mother and child. However, the doctor was not available to assist the patient until 17 minutes after the decrease in the baby’s heart rate was first observed. Medical treatment in the form of an emergency Cesarean section was further delayed another eight minutes.

Immediately after the minor child was born via C-section, he was placed on a respirator. However, he did not survive for long. This wrongful death lawsuit contends that the hospital and doctor should be held liable for delaying an emergency C-section, which allegedly caused the death of the minor child.

Although the specific medical condition of the minor child was not revealed in the lawsuit, delaying an emergency C-section when fetal distress is indicated is a common cause of several birth injuries. There is a possibility that the child could have developed brain damage or been stillborn, for example. Had the minor child survived, he may have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which is a condition that can result from brain trauma and fetal oxygen deprivation.

Birth injury lawsuit alleges medical negligence

The complaint levels allegations of medical negligence, noting that because the defendants had accepted the patient into their care, they had a responsibility to provide “all services necessary to… examination, evaluation, diagnosis, care, and treatment” of the patient. The lawsuit further alleges that the defendants “so negligently and carelessly cared for” the patient that she lost her child as a direct result. The specific accusations include failure to deliver the child properly, failure to provide treatment and examination in a timely manner, and failure to perform appropriate actions.

The plaintiffs demand a jury trial and compensatory damages for their loss. The birth injury lawsuit points to a loss of earning capacity of the mother, severe emotional and mental distress, pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of the companionship of their child.