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Birth injury case results in $7.5-million settlement

Recently settled medical malpractice lawsuit should help a mother with an infant born with brain trauma start her life with enough money to make life better for her and her son.

When the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against the county's hospital, it included $300,000 for the 18-month-old boy's medical expenses with the $7.5 million total.

According to court documents, the 39-year-old mother went to the USC-Los Angeles County Medical Center with severe abdominal pain. She was released from the hospital without having any real diagnosis. In fact, the mother was 39 weeks pregnant. She returned to the hospital 12 hours later, and her baby was delivered by emergency cesarean section.

The infant's apparent birth injury was caused by a lack of oxygen during delivery. The lawsuit alleged that because not one of the hospital's three staff obstetricians checked the patient during labor and delivery, a uterine rupture in the mother went undiagnosed and eventually contributed to the infant's brain injury.

The Board of Supervisors' decision allows the county to compensate the mother and her baby for the negligent care that led to the brain injury. Depending on the care required, it may cover the newborn's long-term medical care and other needs.

Childbirth is a complicated process in which the health of both the mother and the baby are at stake. Although, most babies are born healthy and strong, some suffer birth injuries that can affect them and their families the rest of their lives. Fortunately, in New York, birth injury that results from medical negligence can be compensated by means of a medical malpractice lawsuit. A successful lawsuit will hold negligent doctors accountable for their actions and award compensation that may cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and emotional damages.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County to pay $7.5 million in childbirth malpractice case," Abby Sewell, Nov. 6, 2013

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