$3 Million Birth Injury Case Highlights Pediatric Personal Injury Issues
During the last week of September, a Superior Court issued a $3 million verdict against an obstetrician who was found responsible for severe birth injuries due to forcefully pulling a baby out by its head during delivery. The lawsuit—filed in 2014—specifically alleged that the doctor caused permanent nerve damage to the baby’s right shoulder by pulling too hard on the baby’s neck and head while trying to dislodge the shoulder during delivery.
Frequently, when it comes to personal injuries that affect babies, high malpractice awards are common because these injuries are typically life-altering. In this case, some of the child’s shoulder nerves were ripped in half, while others were overstretched and, as result, and thus cannot function properly. While surgery has improved the child’s condition, there are certain life activities that he will never be able to perform due to permanent disfigurement.
The Importance of Past Records
The doctor and medical center where he worked were previously sued for medical malpractice in 2004, where that particular case settled out of court. The doctor (Wong) was also reprimanded and fined by the state Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline for prescribing too much of an abortion-inducing medication.
FDA Warnings Affecting Pediatric Claims
The FDA recently issued drug safety warnings concerning the potential negative effects of anesthesia and sedatives on the development and behavior in children under the age of three. Specifically, the agency advised doctors and other health professionals to balance pros and cons of appropriate anesthesia in pregnant women and young children, especially in procedures that last longer than three hours and/or where multiple procedures are required in procedures in children under the age of three because, under these circumstances, there could be resultant developmental, learning, and behavioral disorders.
As a result, there will be a projected labeling change for 11 of the commonly used anesthetic agents in procedures involving pregnant women and young children, including benzodiazepines, ketamine, propofol, and Phenobarbital. However, the FDA has also noted that the warning should not hinder procedures or surgeries in children under the age of three when they are medically necessary.
Regardless, in every case, it is crucial that pediatricians and pediatric surgeons have a reasoned and open discussion with parents about the risks and benefits associated with any procedure and/or medication, which was allegedly lacking in Dr. Wong’s case. In some circumstances, regional anesthesia may be a more appropriate alternative. Studies have also indicated that briefer periods of exposure to general anesthesia are also safer for young children.
Consult With Experienced Boca Raton Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
At the law offices of Lavalle Brown & Ronan, our Boca Raton, and our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience assisting individuals who have sustained injuries due to negligence and medical malpractice. We strive to obtain the full compensation you deserve from negligent doctors. Contact us today for a free consultation.