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When the birthing process turns into medical malpractice

Louisiana parents who experience a pregnancy identified as being "high risk" are already wary of the birthing process. On the other hand, parents who experience a normal -- or at least nearly normal -- pregnancy often do not expect the birthing process to end in tragedy. When it does, the possibility that medical malpractice caused the injuries to the child could be explored.

After a couple's child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, his parents pursued a medical malpractice claim alleging that mistakes made during the birth led to his condition. The out-of-state parents alleged that the medical personnel attending to her during labor and delivery gave her too much pitocin, which is a hormone drug given to mothers in order to facilitate and move along the labor process. The boy's parents successfully argued that this caused her contractions to come so quickly that her child was deprived of oxygen and even began to suffocate.

In fact, it came out during the trial that the hospital's own rules prohibited the use of pitocin if a woman's labor was progressing, she experiences contractions and/or is dilating. Due to this error, the Pennsylvania couple's son suffers from severe cerebral palsy and is even unable to walk, sit up or talk at the age of four-and-a-half years. The jury awarded the family approximately $14.5 million, which includes monies for yearly medical care for the next 40 years. 

Louisiana parents who believe that medical malpractice caused their infant's permanent injuries and/or conditions such as cerebral palsy might benefit from talking to an attorney. If the evidence indicates that mistakes were made during labor and delivery and caused the injuries, a medical malpractice claim might be appropriate. If an attempt to prove that the standard of care was breached is successful, the family might be awarded damages to help with the medical and other care the child might require now and in the future.

Source:, "Court in Johnstown awards record malpractice verdict", David Hurst, Jan. 31 ,2017

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