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Over the past several years, I took on a case for an impoverished young boy living in rural Georgia who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The mother of the child was 33 weeks pregnant when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. She was a passenger in a small automobile which was impacted on its passenger side by a truck. The mother was immediately taken to a local Georgia hospital, where it was determined that she should be kept overnight for observation.
Although it appeared initially that the baby was doing fine, there were significant indications in the medical records overnight that the baby had suffered a significant brain injury and was deteriorating. The fetal heart monitor strips indicated that the baby’s heart rate was decelerating and the baby was losing oxygen. An ultrasound was performed in the early morning hours the following day which revealed that the baby was in fact severally compromised. Despite these indications, the physicians involved in this boy’s care did not perform an emergency c-section until mid-afternoon. As a result, the boy suffered a significant depravation of oxygen and now has a permanent and severe cerebral palsy condition which requires 24 hour care, 7 days per week.
Over the past several years, I made many trips to Georgia to pursue this case on behalf of the boy and his family. In addition to being impoverished, the boy’s family has had significant issues with drugs and alcohol, and he is now being raised principally by his great-grandmother, who is taking on this extraordinary task despite her advanced age. I was extremely pleased to be able to bring this matter to a settlement resolution last year. As a result of the settlement, the family was able to move into a new home where they could properly care of their severely disabled child. Further, the settlement was able to be structured such that the child will have significant monies for all of his needs for the rest of his life, without jeopardizing benefits that he already receives.
Although the primary focus of my practice is on medical malpractice cases, and I do a number of cases involving babies with cerebral palsy like this one, this case was particularly rewarding for me because of the significant challenges this child faced due not only to his medical condition, but also due to his difficult family situation and poverty.
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