A family was awarded $8.5 million in a birth injury case. According to the lawsuit, the baby suffered a severe brain injury in 2010 while in the care of MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
The lawsuit claimed that the mother likely contracted a placental infection, the baby did not receive adequate oxygen to the brain, and the baby was not resuscitated properly.
The family said that the child, now three years old, will never be able to lead a normal life or care for herself. She has to be fed with a tube each day.
An important piece of evidence in the trial was the baby’s APGAR score. The scoring system is named after Dr. Virginia Apgar, the anesthesiologist who devised it in 1952. Infants are evaluated on five criteria, which are summarized in a backronym: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration.
In this case, the infant had a pulse when she was born, but she was not breathing. Neonatal resuscitation experts were not notified in time to prevent brain damage. At trial, forensic evidence was introduced that showed that the baby’s APGAR score had been changed in such a way as to make it appear that the hospital was not responsible for the child’s injury.
Failure to respond properly to a baby who is not breathing is just one type of medical malpractice that can lead to a birth injury lawsuit. Doctors and hospitals may also fail to detect infections in the mother or baby, misuse medical equipment, misread fetal monitors, or make medication errors.