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$3.5 Million Settlement for Child Rendered Intellectually Impaired at Birth due to Delivery Delay

Amount: $3,500,000
Court: Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
Plaintiff’s Counsel: William S. Jacobson

Our client’s child was born at a Columbus area hospital in the summer of 2002. His mother was a gestational diabetic and he was born a month prematurely. About a week prior to delivery, his mother was admitted for prenatal testing. During that admission, the fetal heart monitor registered troublesome signs that the resident failed to communicate to the attending physician. As a result, the mother was discharged. The mother returned four days later for a routine appointment, at which time the fetal heart monitor showed that the child was under a significant amount of stress. The plaintiff argued that a cesarean section should have been ordered immediately and that, had that been done, the child would have been delivered within about a half hour’s time. Instead, due to the resident’s inexperience, the delivery was not effectuated until some 2-1/2 hours later. About 20 minutes prior to delivery, the fetal heart rate dropped from normal down to zero and there were approximately 20minutes with no heart rate prior to delivery. The child was born into a severe state of birth depression and was resuscitated.

The child is now 4 years old and suffers from cognitive impairment. His motor skills are relatively good. Plaintiff argued that the cognitive impairment was due to an asphyxial process which occurred in the 20 minutes prior to delivery.

The defense argued that the mother’s gestational diabetes gave rise to a significant amount of lesions in the placenta which compromised the baby’s health long before delivery, and that the child was destined to have a poor result. The defense also argued that there was a congenital abnormality in the child’s brain that was partially responsible for his difficulties, and that this was demonstrated by the brain imaging films. The neuro-radiologist retained by plaintiff, however, did not agree that there were any congenital anomalies on the brain film.

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