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Army Hospital Faces Negligence Lawsuit over Cerebral Palsy

scales courtroomThe mother of a 10-year-old boy has filed a complaint on behalf of her son over the severe birth injury he suffered in an Army hospital in Tennessee. The unnamed minor child was diagnosed shortly after birth as having suffered a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and perinatal asphyxia which resulted in a severe form of cerebral palsy. The boy’s parents are also named individually in the suit as plaintiffs. They allege that the birth and delivery were not handled correctly and that their son’s severe injuries could have been avoided.

The cerebral palsy lawsuit was filed on October 6 in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville division over the birth injury the boy allegedly suffered when he was delivered at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on January 10, 2005. The boy’s parents had submitted forms alleging injuries to the U.S. Army Claims Service on Jan. 9, 2007, within the allotted time for commencing legal action. The defendants initially expressed interest in a cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement, but issued a final denial of the parents’ claims in February of this year.

Complaint claims that failure to intervene led to birth injuries

The complaint filed over the child’s birth injuries alleges that the medical professionals’ failure to recognize fetal distress or to intervene in a timely manner led to severe birth injuries that will require a lifetime of special care.

The child’s mother had initially intended to deliver the baby via C-section, as her first child had also been delivered this way less than a year prior. However a midwife who counseled her about the possibility of having a VBAC, “grossly exaggerated the actual chance of a successful vaginal delivery in a woman like Ms. Wilson.” Initial monitoring of the baby during labor suggested that all was well, but subsequent monitoring indicated signs of “fetal compromise.”

As the situation continued to deteriorate, no measures were taken until a new physician arrived at shift change and promptly ordered an emergency C-section.

The infant was delivered with low Apgar scores and a blood pH indicative of severe acidosis. He was transported to the NICU of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and discharged on Feb. 4. He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy with severe developmental delays, impaired motor function, delayed cognitive abilities, and seizures.

Child, parents anticipate years of expensive cerebral palsy care

According to the complaint, the boy can expect around-the-clock medical care for the rest of his life, including “extensive medical and assistive devices, therapies, adaptive housing and transportation, special educational assistance, attendant care, and complete assistance with all of his activities of daily living. “

In addition to related expenses, the family is also suing to be compensated for physical and mental pain, diminished enjoyment and quality of life, and loss of earning capacity and wages. The child’s parents are suing for the mental and emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and the funds they will need to support their son in years to come.

  1. NYTimes, Cerebral Palsy

  2. Cerebral, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE, also known as Intrapartum Asphyxia