A lawsuit against the U.S. government, filed by the parents of a child who was born severely brain-damaged, has been settled for $6.5 million.
Kasie and Hignio Rivera of Austin, Texas filed the lawsuit in federal court against Darnall Army Medical Center after the birth of their son in 2008. The lawsuit alleged that doctors did not respond to evidence that the excessive use of oxytocin was overstimulating the mother’s contractions, causing severe distress to the baby. As a consequence, the lawsuit claimed that doctors failed to perform a timely cesarean section.
The lawsuit alleged that while the mother was in labor, the use of oxytocin was frequently stopped by nurses who noticed decelerations in the heart rate of the baby, but that the doctors ordered that it be resumed each time. According to the lawsuit, this cycle continued despite the fact that fetal monitors showed that the baby was in distress. The lawsuit argued that the signs of distress indicated that oxytocin should have been halted and a C-section performed.
According to news reports, the mother said that when her son was born, he did not move or cry. Tests shortly after birth showed that the child had severe brain damage, according to the lawsuit. The Riveras’ child is now five years old. He cannot walk or talk, and he must be fed with a feeding tube. His parents said that the settlement will ensure that his medical and other care expenses are covered.