With the advances in modern technology, woman and babies in New York and across the country typically have a much safer experience as they go through labor and delivery than they did hundreds of years ago. However, doctors and other medical care staff must often make split-second decisions to protect lives. Failing to do so can have long-term consequences. For example, a judge in another state has recently ruled that a child’s brain injuries were caused by doctor errors.

The girl, who is now five, was born in June 2011. Because the mother’s age put her at risk, she sought to have her child at a hospital with a neonatologist. However, the mother and a nurse reportedly noticed a pool of blood developing on the mother’s bed. The baby’s heart rate also became unreadable. The hospital apparently attempted to contact the neonatologist — named as a defendant in the case — several times with no success.

Eventually, a colleague of the doctor arrived on the scene and ordered a blood transfusion, but there was not enough blood in an initial transfusion, and the arrival of an additional supply was delayed. Unfortunately, the child’s blood loss resulted in brain damage. The young child needs assistance with all aspects of her life, which forced her mother to quit her job to provide care. The neonatologist claims that he accidentally left his cell phone and pager at work. A judge has recently awarded the family of the young girl over $23 million; a family representative claims that attorneys for the hospital and doctor filed papers prior to the verdict, indicating they would not appeal it.

Unfortunately, families in New York are often left struggling with the lifelong effects of doctor errors. Because of the extra care a victim of such errors may require, a family may find itself unable to meet their financial obligations. However, they have the option of filing a civil suit against negligent parties, potentially resulting in an award of damages if negligence can be proved.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Malpractice verdict: $23.1 million for family of Tinley Park girl who suffered brain damage at birth“, Mike Nolan, May 12, 2017